Life in CanadaStudy in CanadaVisit CanadaJuly 4, 2023by sai ram dowluri10 key facts international students should know about Canada’s Post Graduation Work Permit


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  1. PGWP has a role in gaining Canadian work experience
    • Over 100 different immigration pathways in Canada reward candidates with Canadian study and work experience.
    • To be eligible for a Canadian permanent residence program, PGWP holders typically need at least one year of professional work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B.
  2. To be eligible for the PGWP, you must have held full-time student status
    • International students must have maintained full-time student status for every academic session of the program(s) included in their PGWP application.
    • Exemptions to the full-time status requirement have been provided for international students who began their programs between spring 2020 and summer 2022, as well as for those whose programs were already in progress in March 2020.
  3. The PGWP cannot be renewed and you can only apply for one PGWP in your lifetime
    • The PGWP itself cannot be renewed; however, an extension may be possible if the permit’s duration is limited by the passport expiration date.
    • Full-time study periods while working do not count as Canadian work experience for immigration purposes.
  4. You can apply to extend your PGWP before it expires if you qualify for a different type of work permit
    • International students whose PGWP is expiring can explore other work permit options, such as open work permits or employer-specific work permits, as long as they meet the requirements.
  5. Maintained status grants you legal status while you wait for your extension to be processed
    • Maintained status allows students to stay legally in Canada while their PGWP extension application is being processed.
    • All temporary residents in Canada have an automatically imposed condition to leave Canada at the end of their authorized period of stay, but applying for an extension extends their authorized stay.
  6. Some PGWP applicants can work full-time while they wait for the processing of their PGWP application, even if they leave and re-enter Canada
    • Graduates who have applied for a PGWP before their study permit expires can work full-time without a work permit while awaiting a decision on their application.
    • This applies to full-time students who have completed a program of study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that lasted at least 8 months and led to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  7. Study permits become invalid 90 days after the end of the study program
    • A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after the completion of the study program.
    • It is crucial to apply for the PGWP within 180 days of obtaining proof of program completion, starting from the issuance of final marks or formal written notification.
  8. If your study permit is expired before you apply for a PGWP, there are several options of how and where to apply
    • If a study permit becomes invalid or expires before applying for a PGWP, students have the option to apply overseas or submit an application “outside” Canada while remaining physically in the country.
  9. Ignoring the 120 days validity notice upon receipt of the PGWP application
    • Upon submitting a PGWP application, students receive an auto-generated letter granting a 120-day validity period to continue working. However, this notice can be ignored.
    • Historically, IRCC has met its service standards more than 90% of the time, and most applicants receive a decision before the 120-day period expires.
  10. Spouses and partners of PGWP holders may be eligible for a work permit
    • Spouses and common-law partners of PGWP holders may be eligible to apply for a work permit under the C41 exemption.
    • The PGWP holder must be authorized to work in Canada for at least 6 months, employed in a high-skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, B), and physically residing or planning to reside in Canada while employed.

Bonus fact: Over the years, Canada has become an increasingly popular study destination for international students. In 2020, Canada hosted over 650,000 international students, and this number has been steadily growing in recent years. The availability of the PGWP program has contributed to Canada’s appeal, allowing students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and potentially pursue permanent residence in the country.