Post Graduate Work Permit

Being a foreigner, who has completed studies in a Canadian university, you can find many well-paid employment opportunities. However, the student visa which consists of a visitor visa and a study permit, only allows you to study in Canada. 

So, if you want to work as a graduated professional, you must enter the Post Graduate Work Program. International students can make a career in Canada after they’re graduated. If you want to get work experience in Canada, this article is for you. In this article, we will define post-graduate work permit program (PDWP), its requirements, and the application process.

Staying in Canada to work after you graduate

As mentioned before, the PGWP allows foreign graduates to stay in Canada and work for a Canadian company. This program is an initiative of the Canadian Government to help the new professionals who just graduated. To take advantage of this opportunity, you must first be eligible and approved for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada.

What are the requirements for the Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada?

While it isn’t complicated to get a PGWP, the process involves some requirements. To be eligible for the PGWP, you have to fulfill following requirements, 

  • You can apply only if you have studied in Canada as a full-time student for at least 8 months.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You have to demonstrate that you have completed your study program.
  • Only students graduated from the following institutions can apply:
    • Public college or university in any Canadian province or a vocational education program from Quebec;
    • Private college or university which abides by the same rules as a public university or college in Quebec;
    • Private secondary or post-secondary school in Quebec which offers programs of 900 hours or longer and leads to a professional diploma;
    • Canadian private school which can award degrees such as a Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D.
  • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of your graduation.
  • Your study permit must still be valid at the time of your application for the work permit.

There are also some exceptional cases where you can qualify for a PGWP even if you don’t meet all of the requirements; for example, 

  • You finished the program in 6 months which was supposed to last for 8 months
  • The combined length of your studies in two (DLI) institutions was more than 8 months. This may occur when you are transferred from one DLI to another.
  • You transferred from an institution that wasn’t a DLI to one that is a DLI and studied for 8 months or more in the DLI (the time you spent at the school that was not a DLI does not qualify you for a PGWP).
  • You studied part-time during your last semester due to a lighter course load.
  • If you are a flight instructor, you can opt for a PGWP as long as:
    • You have a Canadian commercial pilot license after completing a course for flight training at a Canadian training center, or
    • You are in the process of getting the instructor rating and a job offer in the position of a flight instructor from a flight training center;
  • If you are graduating from a Quebec vocational or professional training program, you must fulfill these criteria:
    • You must have graduated from a public or private secondary school or from a private post-secondary school;
    • Your diploma must be a Diploma in Vocational Studies (DEP), Attestation of Vocational Specialization (ASP), Diploma in College Studies (DEC), or Attestation of College Studies (AEC);
    • Your program must have been full time for 8 months or more.

You must fulfill these requirements to be eligible for the PGWP, or you cannot stay in Canada after you graduate and must return to your home country within 90 days after graduation. On the other hand, you can’t get a PGWP if:

  • You have been in a study program that is less than 8 months long.
  • Even you have studied for more than 8 months, that time hasn’t been continuous
  • If you were part of the Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program which is funded by the Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • You were part of the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by the GAC
  • You had funding from the GAC.
  • You had an Equal Opportunity Scholarship of Canada – Chile.
  • You were part of the Canada – China Scholars Exchanges Program.
  • You were part of the Organization of American States Fellowships Program.
  • You completed your study program as a distance learning student from abroad or from within Canada.
  • You have already had a PGWP

How to apply for a Canadian Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

As mentioned before, the application procedure for the Post Graduation Work Permit is relatively simple. It can be completed either in person by submitting a paper application and/or online using your Government of Canada login (GCKey or bank details). However, if you are eligible; we recommend you to apply online since the processing time for online applications is shorter than paper applications.

Step 1 – Filling the forms

This is the very first step you need to take to start the application. Go to the Government of Canada website and fill out the following forms:

Form IMM 5710 

Application to Change Condition, extend my stay, or Remain in Canada as a Worker; it’ll depend on your actual status.

Form IMM 5409

Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union; only applies if you have a common-law partner.

IMM 5476

Use of Representative, it applies if you are giving permission to someone to apply for you.

IMM 5475

Authority to release personal information to a designated individual. This form is necessary if you are using a representative.

Step 2 – Submit important documents

Here is a list of documents that you have to submit in addition to the forms listed above:

  • A copy of your valid passport;
  • A copy of your current valid immigration documents such as study permit, work permit, visitor visa, etc.;
  • Your final university transcript;
  • Proof that you have graduated from your school, a letter will do the job;
  • A letter from your school confirming the length of your study program (in hours or in months) and the program code if you have studied in Quebec;

Step 3 – Paying the fees

After submitting all the necessary documents, you will be directed to pay the fees for the PGWP application.

Keep in mind that the PGWP is considered an open work permitso it is slightly more expensive than your previous student work permit. Having said that, the total amount you’ll have to pay for your PGWP application is CAD 255.

This is a two-stage payment; the standard work permit application fee is CAD 155. Additionally, the open work permit to get the PGWP is CAD 100. It’s important that you keep visiting the website through your account. In addition, you should add the website mail to your white list. 

Remember, the Government of Canada will notify you via mail or email on their decision. Once your PGWP is approved, you may start working immediately.

How long is the processing time for the PGWP?

It depends on the method you used to apply. If you submitted your documents through a paper application, you will have to wait around 107 days for the PGWP application to be processed. But, if you have applied through their online system, then you may get a response after 57 days.

How long will the PGWP stay valid?

The validity of the PGWP depends on how long your study program was.

  • If your study program was less than 8 months long, you are not eligible for a PGWP.
  • If your study program was between 8 months and 2 years, your PGWP might be valid for the whole length of your study program. This means that a study program of 10 months may allow you a PGWP valid for 10 months.
  • If your study program was 2 years or longer, your PGWP might be valid for 3 years.
  • If you studied in more than 1 program and always at DLI institutions, your PGWP may be issued for up to 3 years.

Can I get Permanent Residence in Canada with a PGWP?

You can if you meet all the requirements. Also, you must fulfill the requirements for any of the Canadian permanent residences you can gain through working such as:

  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Workers Program (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Provincial Nominee Program and
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot