Canada is highly known for its quality of education. This attracts a lot of international students to try and enroll in a Canadian university and get a degree there, which allows them to get good job opportunities in their future.
To start studying in a Canadian university, you must first get a student visa which consists of a visitor visa and a study permit. You must also enroll in a program that is longer than 6 months and start studying in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). A DLI is an institution which has been approved to accept international students by the Canadian Government.
The student visa is valid for the time that you are enrolled in university and it expires after you graduate. However, many students want to stay in Canada to get work experience after they graduate. To be able to do that they must enroll in the Post Graduate Work Program.
This article will go through this program, what it is, how to apply, and other relevant details.
Can I stay in Canada to work after I graduate?
After graduation, a lot of students want to get some work experience and Canada and ask whether they can find a job and stay for some time. The Canadian Government allows this if the student who just graduated is eligible and approved for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada.
The PGWP allows the graduated student to stay in Canada and work for a Canadian company depending on the duration of their studies and their eligibility.
What are the requirements for the Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada?
The PGWP will essentially give you temporary residence in Canada and therefore has many requirements. To be eligible for the PGWP, you must fulfill the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old;
- You must have studied in Canada as a full-time student for at least 8 months;
- You must have proof that you have completed your study program;
- You must have graduated from one of the following institution:
- Public college or university in any Canadian province or a vocational education program from Quebec;
- Private college or university which abides to 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 PhD;
- You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of your graduation;
- You must have a valid study permit at the time of your application for the work permit.
However, there are also some special cases which can make you qualify for a PGWP even if you do not fulfill the requirements above:
- You were enrolled in an accelerated program which was supposed to last for 8 months, but you finished it in 6 months;
- You transferred from one DLI to another and the combined length of your studies in the two institutions was more than 8 months;
- You transferred from an institution that was not 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;
- You are a flight instructor who:
- Has completed a course for flight training at a Canadian training center and now you have a Canadian commercial pilot license, 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 90 days after graduation.
You cannot get a PGWP if you are in one of these situations:
- You have been in a study program that is less than 8 months long;
- You have studied for more than 8 months but the time has not been continuous;
- 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 the PGWP?
The application procedure for the Post Graduation Work Permit is not very complicated and can be completed either online using your Government of Canada login (GCKey or bank details) or in person by submitting a paper application.
Since the processing time for online applications is shorter than paper applications, we recommend trying to apply online if you are eligible. To start application, go to the Government of Canada website and fill out the following forms:
- IMM 5710 – Application to Change Condition, Extend my Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Worker;
- IMM 5409 – Statutory Declaration of Common-Law Union (if you have a common-law partner);
- IMM 5476 – Use of Representative (if you are giving permission to someone to apply for you);
- IMM 5475 – Authority to release personal information to a designated individual (if you are using a representative);
In addition to the forms, you must also submit other documents such as:
- 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;
- A letter from your school confirming that you have graduated ;
- 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;
Once you have submitted all the necessary documents, you will be directed to pay the fees for the PGWP application. Afterwards, you have to wait for processing and then the Government of Canada will notify you via mail or email on their decision. If your PGWP is approved, you may start working immediately for the time that has been allowed for you.
How long is the processing time for the PGWP?
After you submit the application for the Post Grad Work Permit, the Government of Canada has to process it. If you have applied through their online system, you will have to wait around 51 days for the PGWP application to be processed. If you have submitted a paper application, then you will have to wait 107 days for processing.
What are the fees for the PGWP?
To submit your application for the PGWP, you will have to pay the application fees. The PGWP is considered an open work permit so it is slightly more expensive than the student work permit.
More specifically, you will have to pay the standard work permit application fee of CAD$155 and an additional CAD$100 for the open work permit to get the PGWP. So, in total, your PGWP application will cost CAD$255.
How long is the PGWP 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 may be valid for the whole length of your study program (so if your program was 10 months, your PGWP will be valid for 10 months);
- If your study program was 2 years or longer, your PGWP may be valid for 3 years;
- If you studied in more than 1 program, your PGWP may be issued for up to 3 years.
Can I get Permanent Residence in Canada with a PGWP?
After you complete your PGWP, you may be wondering if you qualify for Canadian Permanent Residence. That depends on whether you 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;
- Atlantic Immigration Pilot.
Whether you qualify for any of these permanent residence programs depends on your language abilities (English and/or French), your job type (managerial, trade, skilled, etc), whether you have family in Canada who are citizens or permanent residents and so on.