A Post-Graduation Work Permit or PGWP is an open work permit for international students graduating from a program of study in a Canadian Designated Learning Institution or DLI.
Valid for any length of time from eight months to three years, this permit allows the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada and get valuable work experience.
It is not issued for longer than the applicant’s study duration in Canada and, in most cases, is approximately the same length. The maximum extent is generally three years.
A PGWP is immensely helpful if your ultimate aim is to apply for permanent Canadian residency via the many routes offered by the IRCC or Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Also, a PGWP will help you to maintain yourself financially while either studying or looking for work.
Do remember that if you are clear in terms of eligibility requirements and plan on working in Canada post your graduation, you must apply for a PGWP as soon as possible. As you are not allowed to start working till you get a work permit, apply quickly since processing times can vary on the basis of applications received and time of the year.
Applying for a PGWP
If you clear all eligibility criteria, you can apply for a PGWP from both inside Canada and abroad.
Post your graduation; you have up to 180 days within which to apply for a PGWP. You have to prove the following when you apply for it.
- You have attended and completed the study program.
- The name of the study program
- The length of the program
You can prove this by submitting your diploma or degree, transcript, or an official letter from the study institution.
In case your study permit expires before you receive your marks, you can either apply for a visitor record which will allow you to stay in Canada for a longer period of time, or leave the country and then apply for PGWP.
In case your study permit expires before you change your status to the visitor, you can apply for a PGWP within 90 days and restore your status to the student by applying online and paying the fees.
PGWP – Eligibility Criteria
Here they are:
- You must be a foreign national.
- You must be 18 years old or above.
- You must have studied full-time in a program that is at least 8 months long in Canada.
- Your study program must be completed in a DLI.
Post application, you must be prepared to wait as a PGWP can take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to process. However, you can easily work anywhere in Canada while you are waiting if you apply before the expiry of your student permit.
In case you have left Canada upon the completion of your studies, you can apply for the PGWP from overseas. Do note that some additional documentation may be asked for by the visa office that processes your application.
Also, a thing to remember here is that you can apply only once for a PGWP. In case you plan to study further by taking on another study program in continuation of your present one or a degree program, you will have to plan the PGWP application strategically.
A PGWP is not the same as a work permit, as while the latter allows you to work for a specific employer in Canada, a PGWP lets you work for any employer anywhere in Canada. Also, a work permit’s validity duration is generally one year, while a PGWP’s validity can go up to even three years.