Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Guide For Canada
In Canada, open work permits are given to international students which are known as Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs). This is for students who graduate from the Canadian program of study so that they can work for any employer, anywhere in Canada. It is usually valid for 8 months to 3 years and one of the best ways to gain an experience in the Canadian space, but it is not issued for a duration longer than your study in Canada. You can also eventually apply for permanent residence after some work experience.
If more than 50% of your program is conducted in-class/in-person, you would be most likely eligible for a PGWP. You must be at least 18 years of age and have studied full-time in Canada for at least 8 months in a program. If the study permit has expired or will expire, you could apply for the status of a visitor before applying to the PGWP. However, applicants who apply for PGWP before the expiration of their study permit are usually eligible to begin working full time immediately, while their application is processed.
Do note that not all programs of study in Canada are eligible for a PGWP (post-graduation work permit).
This type of work permit does not require any assessment like Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Once you have some experience in Canada, you may become eligible for Canada's permanent residency programs. Some of them are:
Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is an immigration program with the objective to help temporary foreign workers and foreign students to apply their work experience and education towards their applications for residency.
Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) is a work permit available for skilled workers in Canada who are eligible to apply for permanent residence based on their education, work experience, knowledge of English and/or French, and other factors. Eventually, they can settle down in Canada for permanent residence.
Federal Skilled Trades (FST) is a work permit program which is the only federal economic immigration program for qualified, experienced tradesperson workers who require permanent residence in Canada.
Quebec Immigration is a work permit program in Quebec known to have the highest autonomy in creating their visa requirements for skilled immigrants. Not only is it unique, but also has multiple visa pathways that are not offered by many other Canadian provinces. Obtain a certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) in order to get started with this program and then submit a full application for permanent residence under the Federal Government. Even though Quebec is the most independent in terms of immigration, it is only the federal government that can issue the permanent residency status.
However, if you speak French, studied and worked in Quebec, you may also be eligible for Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), which is an option for Quebec PGWP holders. It is necessary to meet certain eligibility criteria like proving French language proficiency. If you intend to settle in Quebec along with at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation in Quebec, ultimately providing you an opportunity for Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Atlantic Immigration Pilot is a unique program that allows companies or organisations from the Atlantic provinces to invite or hire foreign nationals without obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This program was initiated in 2017, and is currently aiming to invite over 4,000 newcomers in the next few years. This will help the local employers to employ qualified foreign nationals with the submission of permanent residency applications and settlement.
Family Sponsorship is available for your spouse/common-law partners or other family members in Canada. This is known to have advocated family-reunification programs and has also introduced many immigration programs specific to this. With this program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can sponsor spouses, common-law partners, children and other dependents, parents, and grandparents.
If nothing works, you can still stay as a temporary resident under different work permits like LMIAs and trade agreements. LMIAs are usually done and provided by the employer. For other trade agreements that allow you to work in Canada, you don't need an LMIA. Contact us for more information on LMIA and other trade agreement information and guidance.
Note that a PGWP takes anywhere between 80 to 180 days to process, however, you can start working in Canada (provided you have already applied prior to the expiry date of your student permit). 180 days of time is provided to apply before you have completed all the requirements of your program of study. If a PGWP application is submitted from your country of origin (outside Canada), additional documentation may be required at the visa office.
Having a smooth and easy Canadian immigration journey is our responsibility, helping you succeed among the other competitive applicants for gaining permanent resident status! Contact us for more insights and guidance on your PGWP journey.