Canada has introduced a new policy measure to address labour shortages and provide international students with additional opportunities to transition to permanent residence. Immigration Minister Sean Fraser recently announced the implementation of an Open Work Permit for eligible former and current Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders. This exciting development offers extended work permit options and increased pathways to Canadian permanent residence.

Understanding the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a sought-after program that allows eligible international graduates to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. The duration of the PGWP depends on the length of the program the graduate has completed, making it an attractive option for those seeking Canadian work experience and pathways to permanent residence.

Eligibility for the PGWP

To be eligible for the PGWP, candidates must:

  • Be 18 or older.
  • Have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a program at least eight months long.
  • Have completed and passed all your program requirements
  • Have graduated from one of the following:
  1. Public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec.
  2. Private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (currently applies only to certain private post-secondary institutions in Quebec).
  3. Private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP).
  4. Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelor’s, Masters or Doctorate degree) but only if you are enrolled in a study program leading to a degree as authorized by the province.

Extending the Work Permit to International Students

One exciting update is the extension of the PGWP for international students with expired or expiring permits. These individuals now qualify for an 18-month extension, allowing them to stay longer and gain additional work experience in Canada. Even if the restoration period of 90 days has passed, individuals with expired work permits can restore their status and receive an interim work authorization while awaiting the processing of their new work permit application.

Transitioning to Permanent Residence

Canadian work experience plays a crucial role in the immigration journey of international graduates. Various economic class immigration programs, including Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), prioritize candidates with Canadian work experience, as it enhances their integration into the Canadian labour market. By acquiring Canadian work experience through the PGWP, international graduates can strengthen their eligibility for permanent residence.

Canada’s appeal as a destination for international students is evident in the record-breaking number of over 800,000 international students hosted last year. Among them, nearly 98,000 PGWP holders successfully transitioned to permanent residence in 2022, accounting for a significant portion of all temporary residents who became permanent residents. This trend showcases the value of the PGWP program and its contribution to immigrants’ successful settlement in Canada.

Studying internationally with a student visa

Application Process and Timelines

Candidates must apply for the PGWP within 180 days of completing their program. The application process requires specific documents and adherence to timelines. We will provide step-by-step guidance to help international students navigate the application process smoothly and maximize their chances of obtaining the PGWP.

Embracing Opportunities

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit offers international students a valuable pathway to gain Canadian work experience and pursue their long-term goals in the country. By understanding the eligibility criteria, application process, and benefits of the PGWP, international students can harness this opportunity to maximize their chances of success in Canada. Whether it’s exploring career opportunities or laying the foundation for permanent residence, the PGWP serves as a stepping stone toward a bright future in Canada.

To discuss if the PGWP is an option for your immigration plan, book a consultation with us today.