In 2019, more than 640 thousand students chose Canada as their exchange program destination. With high quality education and institutions ranked among the best in the world, it is not surprising. In addition, according to a survey by the Canadian Agency for International Education, 60% of those undergoing a study program in Canada intend to stay in the country after graduating.
And this is exactly where the PGWP – Post Graduation Work Permit comes in.
What is PGWP?
Post Graduation Work Permit, or PGWP, is an open work permit for international students after completing their study program in Canada.
This permit is valid from 8 months to 3 years, depending on the length of your studies and is a great opportunity for students to stay in the country and continue their Canadian experience, in addition to being able to work in Canada, in their area, full time.
However, it is not every program or institution that guarantees PGWP eligibility. There are some rules and requirements to be met.
Who can apply to the Post Graduation Work Permit.
To be eligible for this type of open work visa, the international student must have completed a course at a public or a private institution at a degree level (bachelor or master) that is on the government list of Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). In addition, the program must have a duration of at least 8 months, and must be full time.
The student will not be able to apply for PGWP (Post Graduation Work Permit) if he has already obtained this type of permit before. Also, those who completed most of their program through a distance learning platform are not eligible, neither are those who enrolled on a language course.
In light of the COVID-19 spread, the Government of Canada announces some changes for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) criteria, in order to accommodate students affected by the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic:
When to apply to PGWP.
To apply for the PGWP and work in Canada legally after your study program, it is important that the student’s current permit is valid. The application deadline for the Post Graduation Work Permit is 180 days from the date of receipt of the letter of completion or transcript – but the student can request the PGWP once they receive the certificate of completion from his educational institution.
Work in Canada after completing a program of studies.
As long as the student’s study permit is valid and they arein school, the student has the right to work 20 hours a week – and that’s it. After graduating and receiving the certificate of completion, the authorization to work in Canada is automatically suspended. However, once an international student applies for their Post Graduation Work Permit, they will be in what we call implied status (permission from the Canadian government so that the person can maintain their legal status in Canada while the decision regarding their application is being processed), and then they can work full time, that is, 40 hours a week.
How long is the Post Graduation Work Permit valid for?
The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of the course: If the program of study is between 8 months to 1 year, the student’s PGWP will be equivalent to their course duration. Now, if the program were of 2 years or more, the Post Graduation Work Permit will be valid for 3 years (maximum validity).
However, it is important to note that the final decision on the application and duration of the PGWP is entirely the responsibility of the immigration officer assessing the case of each international student.
The PGWP and Spouse (spouse or wife)
An international student’s spouse (married or in common law for more than one year) can apply for an OWP (Open Work Permit) during the partner’s study period *. After graduation, they may request the extension of their work permit, but only if the student (PGWP applicant) at the time of this application, has a job proposal that fits within the NOCS categories 0, A or B.
Attention: we are not talking about a company that sponsors the student or a process that involves an LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment), but only a proof of contract. The applicant will still need to present 03 pay stubs as proof.
Without this contract, the spouse’s options are limited to enrolling in an educational institution and continuing their stay as a student, or staying in Canada with a visitor status, until the partner obtains a job offer in Canada, and then and only then, apply for a new work permit.
Processing time and the value of a PGWP
According to the Canadian government’s official website, the processing time for the Post Graduation Work Permit is 83 days (information collected in June 2020). The website is constantly updated, but it is important to note that this period may vary from case to case.
As for the cost, currently the fee for applying the PGWP is CAD $ 255.00.
How many times can I apply to PGWP?
A person can apply for PGWP only once in their life – So if the student wants to work full time or even immigrate to Canada, we suggest that they complete a program of at least two years, so that way they have more time to gain experience in the Canadian market with a work permit.
And after my Post Graduation Work Permit expires?
We know that studying at a College in Canada is not exactly cheap. The PGWP period can be considered as a great opportunity to recover some of that investment. However, if you intend to immigrate to Canada after your work period with the PGWP, it is good to start planning early!
If the international student intends to live in Canada as a temporary resident with a work permit, the way forward is the work permit linked to a sponsorship, with a process called LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment). This process is done by the employer, and it is necessary to prove that there are no Canadian candidates who meet the requirements of that job vacancy. It is a detailed and complex process, so we recommend the support of a regulated immigration consultant.
But if the student in Canada is already determined to immigrate to the country for good, there is the option of applying for Canadian permanent residency (PR) through the CEC (Canadian Experience Class) program. This immigration program for Canada is aimed at those who have at least 1 year of work experience in Canada in the last 3 years, at NOCs 0, A or B) and have the required proficiency level (which varies according to the NOC in question), proven by one of the official tests (IELTS General or CELPIP for English, and TEF or TCF for French).
* If the partner is enrolled in a DLI (Designated Learning Institution) institution, public or private at the degree, full time level.
Whether to visit, study, work or immigrate to Canada, e-Visa Immigration Services is here to help you through the entire process, from choosing the right course and institution for you to obtaining a work permit and the permanent residency you dreamed of! Get in touch now and schedule an appointment with one of our study, visa and immigration specialists.
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