March 19, 2024

canada post study work visa – Meaning, Process, and Eligibility Criteria

Do you dream of launching your career in Canada after completing your studies? The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), also known as the Post-Study Work Visa, offers a fantastic opportunity for international students like you.  This visa grants you valuable work experience in Canada after graduating from a designated learning institution (DLI).  

The experience you gain through the PGWP can be a major asset  down the road,  potentially propelling you towards achieving Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) through the Express Entry system.  This blog post is your one-stop guide to understanding everything you need to know about the PGWP,  including its meaning, the application process, and the eligibility criteria.

About Canada Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) is a fantastic opportunity for international students who have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. It bridges the gap between your studies and your future career, allowing you to gain valuable work experience in the Canadian job market. This experience can be a major stepping stone towards achieving permanent residency in Canada.

The PGWPP grants you an open work permit, meaning you’re not restricted to working for a specific employer. This flexibility allows you to explore different career options and find a role that aligns with your skills and aspirations.  The duration of your work permit is typically tied to the length of your study program, with a maximum of three years. 

This extended period allows you to gain significant experience and build a strong resume that will impress potential employers in Canada. However, it’s important to note that graduation from a DLI doesn’t guarantee a PGWP. There are eligibility criteria you’ll need to meet, and you have a limited window to apply after completing your studies. We’ll delve deeper into these details in the next section.

Eligibility Criteria for PGWP Canada: Navigating the Requirements

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program allows international students who graduate from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to gain valuable work experience in Canada after completing their studies. However, securing this permit requires meeting specific eligibility criteria. Let’s delve into these requirements, categorized based on whether you’re applying from within Canada or outside.

Applying from Within Canada

  • Recent Completion and Valid Status: You have up to 180 days from your program completion date to submit your PGWP application. Proof of completion can be your degree, diploma, transcript, or an official letter from your school. Notably, your Canadian student visa must still be valid during this 180-day window.
  • Pandemic Considerations: The Canadian government acknowledges the impact of the pandemic on study formats. Here’s how it affects eligibility:
    • Shift from In-Person to Online: If your program transitioned from in-person to online classes due to COVID-19, that online study time can still count towards your PGWP eligibility.
    • Blended Programs: If your program offered a mix of in-person and online learning, that entire duration can be considered.
    • Pandemic-Related Adjustments: If you had to put your studies on hold or switch to part-time studies during the winter, spring, or summer semesters of 2020, you might still be eligible. However, it’s crucial to note that you must have been enrolled full-time for the Fall 2020 semester.
    • Post-Pandemic Requirement: As of September 1, 2023, at least 50% of your academic program must be completed through in-person classes to be eligible for PGWP.

Applying from Outside Canada

  • Timely Application: Similar to applying from within Canada, you have 180 days after program completion to submit your PGWP application from outside the country. Don’t forget to include your degree/diploma/transcript or an official letter from your college as proof of completion.
  • Pandemic Study Leniency: For those who studied online due to the pandemic, here’s some good news:
    • Counting Online Study (March 2020 – August 2022): The time spent studying online between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, will be considered towards the overall duration of your PGWP.
    • Full Online Programs (until August 2023): If your program was ongoing in March 2020 or started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, and consisted entirely of online learning (for these two academic programs), it can still count towards your PGWP eligibility, provided these programs are from a PGWP-eligible DLI and are at least 8 months long.
    • Post-Pandemic Restriction: Remember, any time spent outside Canada after August 31, 2023, won’t be factored into your PGWP duration.

General Eligibility Requirements

In addition to the above considerations based on your location when applying, here are some essential eligibility criteria that apply to all PGWP applicants:

  • You must have held a valid study permit throughout your studies in Canada.
  • Your program must be from a designated learning institution (DLI).
  • Your program must be at least 8 months long and lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • You must have maintained full-time student status throughout your program (with the exception mentioned for Fall 2020 for applicants within Canada).

By carefully considering these eligibility criteria and the specific timelines for applying within or outside Canada, you can increase your chances of securing your PGWP and gaining valuable work experience in Canada after graduation. Remember, this information is for general guidance, and it’s always recommended to refer to the official Canadian government website for the latest updates and detailed instructions on the PGWP application process.

Application Details for PGWP Canada: Get Ready to Work After Graduation!

Here’s what you need to know about applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada:

  • Timeline is Key: You have 180 days after graduation to submit your PGWP application. Don’t miss this window!
  • Proof of Education: Gather your official documents like a degree, diploma, letter of completion from your institution, or an official transcript. These will be required for your application.
  • Application Fees: The application fee for PGWP Canada is CAD 255. This breaks down to a base fee of CAD 155 and an additional CAD 100 “Open Work Permit Holder” fee.
  • Restoring Student Status and PGWP: If your student permit expired, you’ll need to restore your status before applying for PGWP. This comes with an additional fee of CAD 605.
  • Processing Time: Plan ahead! Processing times can vary depending on the application method. Online applications take approximately 141 days, while paper-based applications can take up to 34 weeks.

Duration of Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Canada

The duration of your PGWP in Canada depends on the length of your completed study program. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand your eligibility:

  • Less than eight months: Unfortunately, if your program was shorter than eight months, you won’t be eligible for a PGWP.
  • Eight months to two years: In this case, you’re in luck! Your PGWP will be issued for the same duration as your study program. So, if your program lasted for one year, your work permit will be valid for one year as well.
  • Two years or more: Congratulations! If your program was at least two years long, you’ll be eligible for the maximum PGWP duration – a fantastic three years to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
  • Combining program lengths: Completed multiple qualifying programs? You might be eligible for a combined PGWP! As long as both programs were at least eight months each and you haven’t already received a PGWP based on the first one, the duration of your work permit can reflect the total length of both programs.

How Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Paves the Way for PR

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) isn’t just a work permit – it’s a valuable stepping stone towards Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada. Here’s how:

  • Canadian Experience:
    • Gain valuable full-time (or equivalent part-time) skilled work experience in Canada – a minimum of 12 months within the past 3 years is required for PR through Express Entry programs.
  • Express Entry Advantage:
    • PGWP holders are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement for most jobs under the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This eliminates a step for employers, making you a more attractive candidate.
  • Boost Your CRS Score:
    • Canadian work experience earns points in the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used by Express Entry. A higher CRS score increases your chances of receiving a PR invitation.
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs):
    • Work experience can also strengthen your application for Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), another pathway to Canadian PR.

Special Cases for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada

The standard eligibility criteria for the PGWP might seem straightforward, but there are situations that can be a bit more nuanced. Let’s explore some special cases where international students may still be eligible for this valuable work permit after completing their studies in Canada.

Completing Your Program Early? No Problem!

Even if you’re an academic rockstar and manage to finish your program faster than expected, you won’t be penalized when it comes to the PGWP. Students who complete their program in less time than the designated length are still eligible to apply. In fact, the duration of your PGWP will be based on the full program length, giving you the maximum time possible to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

Taking a Break? It Depends.

Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) understand that unforeseen circumstances may require students to take a leave of absence. As long as your leave is authorized and doesn’t exceed 150 days, it won’t affect your PGWP eligibility. So, if you need to take a break for medical reasons or a personal emergency, you can breathe easy knowing your post-study work permit options are still open.

Transferring Between Schools? Consider the Timeframe.

Transferring between DLIs within Canada can get a little tricky. To be eligible for the PGWP, the combined length of your studies at both institutions must be at least eight months. However, if you transfer from a non-DLI to a DLI, only the time spent studying at the DLI will be considered for your PGWP application.

Global Learning with Local Benefits:

Are you participating in a study exchange program that takes you outside of Canada for a semester? Fear not! As long as you successfully complete the exchange program and return to Canada to finish your studies, you can still apply for the PGWP. However, it’s important to remember that only the time you spent physically studying in Canada will be counted towards the duration of your work permit.

Soaring High with a Flight School PGWP:

For aspiring pilots who graduate from a DLI flight school, the path to a PGWP requires a few additional steps.  Flight school graduates need to hold a Canadian commercial pilot’s license or be in the process of obtaining a flight instructor rating. Additionally, they must have a job offer as a flight instructor at a DLI flight training center. By meeting these criteria, flight school graduates can take advantage of the PGWP to launch their careers in Canada’s aviation industry.

Application Process to Obtain Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada: Navigating Your Path to Work

International students with dreams of launching their career in Canada can leverage the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. But securing this permit requires a well-navigated application process. Here’s a breakdown to get you started:

  • Time is of the Essence: Act fast! Applications for the PGWP must be submitted within 180 days of completing your studies, or before your study permit expires – whichever comes first.
  • Online or Offline? Your application method depends on your location. Most applications are submitted online for efficiency. However, offline options might exist in specific situations.
  • Gather Your Documentation: Regardless of the application method, ensure you have the following documents ready:
    • Proof of completion: This can be a degree/diploma certificate, an official letter from your Canadian school confirming program completion, or official transcripts.
    • Valid Passport: Ensure your passport remains valid for the entire duration of your desired PGWP.
    • Valid Study Permit: A copy of your current Canadian study permit is mandatory.
  • Be Prepared for Additional Requests: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) might request further documentation during processing. Be ready to provide any additional information they require.
  • Job Restrictions and Medical Exams: Certain jobs with close public contact may require a medical exam to remove restrictions on your PGWP.

Remember, this is just a starting point. Always refer to official IRCC resources for the most up-to-date application procedures and requirements.

After Applying for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada

Here’s what you can expect after submitting your PGWP application in Canada:

  • Continued Work Authorization: International students with a valid study permit who applied for a PGWP can continue working full-time in Canada while awaiting the decision.
  • Off-Campus Work History: Ensure you had a valid off-campus work permit during your studies and complied with permitted part-time work hours.
  • Travel and Re-Entry: You can travel outside Canada without impacting your full-time work authorization during PGWP processing. However, bring these documents when re-entering:
    • Your valid study permit
    • Proof of PGWP application submission
  • Visitor Visa/eTA for Extended Travel: If you plan to stay outside Canada for an extended period, obtain a visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) for re-entry.
  • Open Work Permit for Spouse/Partner: Spouses or common-law partners of PGWP holders are eligible to apply for an open work permit in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Thinking about studying in Canada and gaining valuable work experience afterwards? The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program might be the perfect option for you. This blog clarifies frequently asked questions about PGWPs, including eligibility, application process, and important updates for 2024.

1. How long is the post-study work visa for Canada?

The length of your PGWP depends on the level and duration of your study program, with a maximum of three years. It’s also capped by your passport’s expiry date. Generally, for programs exceeding two years (eight months minimum for Master’s starting Feb 15, 2024), you’ll get a three-year PGWP. For shorter programs, the PGWP duration matches your study program length.

2. Can I get a work permit after studying in Canada?

Yes, if you graduate from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, you might be eligible for a PGWP. DLI schools offer approved programs for international students. Check the official list to confirm your institution’s status.

3. Who are eligible for PGWP in Canada?

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must:

  • Graduate from a DLI program.
  • Have a valid study permit at the time of application (or within 180 days of expiry).
  • Meet program-specific eligibility criteria (check with your school).

4. Can I get PR in Canada after study?

Yes, valuable Canadian work experience gained through a PGWP can strengthen your application for Permanent Residency (PR) in Canada.

5. What is the PSW rule in Canada?

PSW refers to the Post-Graduation Work Permit program. There are no specific “rules” beyond eligibility criteria and application procedures.

6. How many times can I get a post-study work visa?

Generally, you can only get one PGWP per completed program of study in Canada.

7. How much is the PSW visa fee in Canada?

The current processing fee for a PGWP application is CAD $258. Additional fees may apply depending on your situation.

8. Can I stay in Canada after 1 year study?

A one-year study permit doesn’t automatically guarantee a PGWP. You need to graduate from a program at a DLI to be eligible.

9. What are the new rules for international students in Canada 2024?

A key update for 2024 is the extension of the maximum PGWP duration to three years for all Master’s graduates, regardless of program length (minimum eight months).

10. Can I get a 2 year work permit in Canada?

A PGWP can be valid for two years, depending on your study program length. You can get a three-year PGWP for programs exceeding two years (eight months minimum for Master’s starting Feb 15, 2024).

11. How much work permit you get after 1 year study in Canada?

The PGWP duration typically matches your one-year study program length.

12. How long can I stay in Canada after Masters?

With a Master’s program exceeding eight months (starting Feb 15, 2024), you’re eligible for a three-year PGWP, allowing you to stay and work in Canada for that duration.

13. Can I extend my post study work permit in Canada?

Currently, there’s no provision to extend a PGWP beyond its initial validity period.

14. How long do you have to study in Canada to get PR?

There’s no minimum study duration requirement for PR. However, Canadian work experience, including PGWP time, can significantly boost your PR application.

15. Is Canada rejecting student visa 2024?

Canada continues to accept and process student visa applications. However, processing times might vary depending on individual circumstances.

16. What are the new rules for PGWP in 2024?

The main change for 2024 is the extended three-year PGWP for all Master’s graduates (minimum eight months program).

17. Which province is best for PR in Canada?

There’s no single “best” province. Each province has its own Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that might favor specific skills or professions. Research individual PNP requirements to find the best fit for your profile.

18. Can I get LMIA while on PGWP?

Yes, you can apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment

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