One of the most important benefits of studying in Canada is the ability to qualify for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP program allows international students who have completed a qualifying program at an approved post-secondary institution to obtain an open work permit. Only certain universities and colleges offer programs that are eligible for the PGWP.
In February, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada indicated for the first time which Canadian schools offer eligible programs. You can find this list here. The PGWP program is an essential step for foreign students to gain the high-skilled Canadian work experience they need to apply for permanent residence.
Here are some of the key details on the PGWP program:
- You must apply for a PGWP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you have met the requirements of your program. This can include: final transcripts, a letter, your degree, etc. After the 90-day period, you are no longer eligible to participate for a PGWP.
- You must hold a valid study permit in order to apply for the PGWP.
- Once you have received written confirmation that you have met the requirements of your program, you are no longer authorized to continue working on your study permit. You may resume working upon submission of the PGWP application.
- The length of your program of study determines the validity of your PGWP:
- If your program was between 8 months and less than 2 years, your PGWP validity may match the length of the program.
- If your program lasted 2 years or more, your PGWP may be valid for 3 years.
- Some students who complete 2 programs (the second of which is a post-graduate program started within 2 years of the completion of the first program) may also be eligible for a 3-year PGWP.
- You may only have one PGWP in your lifetime – there are no renewals, and no second permits even if you return to full-time studies.
If you are planning to study in Canada, it is critical to plan so to ensure you maximize the validity of your PGWP and obtain the Canadian work experience you need to qualify for permanent residence.
If you are already studying in Canada, it is vital to prepare early to ensure your application is submitted on time and without mistakes.
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