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FAQ Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

Top 44 most crucial questions for international students on Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit

Our FAQ section is meticulously designed to address the top 44 most crucial questions for international students interested in Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This resource is tailored to clarify doubts, provide insights, and guide you through the various facets of obtaining and making the most of the PGWP.

From eligibility criteria and application procedures to understanding your rights and planning future steps, these FAQs cover a broad spectrum of relevant topics related to immigration in Canada. They aim to simplify the process for you, ensuring you're well-informed and prepared for this significant step in your Canadian journey.

Application Process and Requirements

1. What is a post-graduate work permit (PGWP)?

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a unique program in Canada designed for international students who have completed their studies at eligible Canadian educational institutions. The primary purpose of the PGWP is to offer these graduates the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

This permit is open, which means it is not tied to a specific job or employer, allowing holders the flexibility to work in any occupation and change employers freely. The duration of a PGWP can vary but is generally equivalent to the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.

2. Can a PGWP be denied?

Yes, a PGWP application can be denied for several reasons. Common reasons include not completing a study program at a designated learning institution or if the program was less than eight months.

Other factors leading to denial could be violations of study permit conditions, insufficient proof of completion of the study program, or failing to apply within 180 days of receiving your final grades. Meeting all eligibility criteria and submitting a complete application is vital to avoid denial.

3. Can I apply for my PGWP in person?

While the PGWP application process is primarily online and facilitated through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website, there may be exceptional circumstances where alternative application methods could be considered. These exceptions are typically for individuals who cannot access online services.

However, these cases are rare, and the standard procedure remains digital. Applicants should consult the IRCC for the most current information on application methods and any potential exceptions to the online requirement.

4. Can I apply for PGWP myself?
Yes, students can apply for a PGWP themselves without legal assistance. The process involves understanding the eligibility criteria (such as completing an eligible program at a recognized institution), gathering the necessary documents (like your final transcripts and completion letter), filling out the correct forms, and submitting the application online via the IRCC website. It's essential to ensure accuracy in the application to avoid delays or rejection.
5. Can I apply for PGWP on implied status?
If you apply for your PGWP before your study permit expires, you are granted implied status, allowing you to stay in Canada under the same conditions as your previous permit until a decision is made on your new application. However, working full-time on implied status is contingent on specific conditions being met. This includes having completed your study program and awaiting a decision on your PGWP application. If your study permit expires before the PGWP is issued, you must stop working until your PGWP is approved. Understanding the conditions of your implied status is crucial to ensure compliance with Canadian immigration regulations.
6. Can I apply for PGWP with only a transcript?
A transcript is a crucial part of your PGWP application, but it is not sufficient on its own. In addition to your final transcripts, you also need an official letter from your educational institution confirming the completion of your program. These documents collectively demonstrate that you have met the educational requirements for the PGWP. It's important to check the IRCC website for any additional or specific document requirements that may apply to your situation, as these can vary.
7. Can I apply PGWP extension online?
PGWPs are generally non-renewable, and their duration is typically tied to the length of your study program. However, under exceptional circumstances, such as an early passport expiration affecting the duration of your initial PGWP, you may be eligible to apply for an extension or a new permit. These cases are rare and subject to specific IRCC guidelines. Applicants should consult the IRCC for the most current information on their eligibility for extensions or new permits under special circumstances.
8. How long after graduating can I apply for PGWP?
You have 180 days after receiving your final grades or an official letter from your educational institution to apply for a PGWP. If your study permit expires before you apply for the PGWP, you must ensure you maintain legal status in Canada. This may involve applying for a visitor record or restoring your student status. Taking timely action is crucial to avoid falling out of status while awaiting your PGWP.
9. Which documents are required for PGWP?
Essential documents for a PGWP application include a valid passport, an official letter of completion from your school, official transcripts, a copy of your study permit, and a digital photo if applying online. You might need additional documents like proof of financial support or a medical exam depending on your situation.
10. When can I start applying for PGWP?
You can begin your PGWP application as soon as you receive confirmation that you have completed your study program, typically in the form of a final transcript or an official completion letter from your school.
11. What is the processing time for PGWP 2023?
The processing time for a PGWP can vary significantly, typically ranging from several weeks to a few months, with an average duration of 80 to 180 days. Factors that can influence processing times include the volume of applications received by IRCC and the specific details of individual applications. Applicants should regularly check the IRCC website for the most current information on processing times to get an accurate estimate of their situation.

Work Eligibility and Restrictions

12. Can I start working as soon as I apply for PGWP?

Yes, you can start working full-time immediately after you apply for your PGWP if you have a valid study permit when you apply, and you completed your program of study. This opportunity to work while your application is being processed is due to the implied status that your study permit provides.

Implied status allows you to continue working under the same conditions as your expired study permit until a decision is made on your PGWP application. However, if your study permit expires before you apply for the PGWP, you cannot work until your PGWP is issued.

13. Can I work any job with PGWP?

A PGWP allows you to work in any occupation, and there are no restrictions on the type of employment you can seek. This flexibility is one of the significant benefits of a PGWP, as it enables you to gain Canadian work experience in various fields, which can be beneficial for future immigration applications, such as those for permanent residency.

The PGWP does not require a job offer at the time of application, and you are not limited to working in your field of study.

14. How many hours can I work with PGWP?
With a PGWP, you are allowed to work full-time, which generally means up to 40 hours per week. However, the PGWP does not limit the number of hours you can work per week, so you can work more than the standard full-time hours if you choose. This freedom allows you to gain extensive work experience and adjust your work schedule according to your personal and professional goals.
15. Can I work more than 40 hours on PGWP?
Yes, you can work more than 40 hours per week on a PGWP. The permit does not have a restriction on the number of hours you can work, offering the flexibility to engage in overtime work or hold multiple jobs. This is particularly advantageous for those looking to maximize their income or gain diverse work experiences in Canada.
16. Do I need a job offer to apply for PGWP?

No, you do not need a job offer to apply for a PGWP. The application for a PGWP is based on your status as a recent graduate from a recognized Canadian educational institution and not on your employment situation.

Having a job offer can be beneficial for your career in Canada, but it is not a requirement for obtaining a PGWP. This aspect makes the PGWP an attractive option for graduates seeking flexibility in their employment choices post-graduation.

Legal Considerations for Canada's PGWP

17. What legal aspects should I consider when applying for my PGWP?

When preparing your PGWP application, it's essential to delve into several critical legal facets to ensure a smooth process. Begin by reviewing your immigration history to confirm alignment with your PGWP application, paying close attention to any discrepancies that might arise. It's also vital to reflect on your study permit's conditions – adherence to these terms is crucial. Assess how your employment status during your studies and any work undertaken before PGWP issuance might impact your application.

Consider the implications of any academic changes, such as shifting programs or universities, as they can significantly influence your eligibility. Lastly, ponder over how the PGWP fits into your broader immigration strategy, particularly if you're eyeing permanent residency in Canada. A thorough understanding of these legal elements not only aligns you with Canadian immigration policies but also strategically positions you for future immigration prospects.

18. Do I need a lawyer to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit in Canada?

Applying for a PGWP in Canada is a process that many international students navigate successfully without the need for a lawyer. The Canadian government has streamlined the application process, offering all the necessary resources and guidance online, free of charge. This accessibility empowers students to undertake the application process independently. While legal professionals can offer in-depth expertise, particularly for complex cases, their services are not a prerequisite for a successful application.

Online platforms like Admis offer additional support, making the process more manageable and less intimidating. These resources are cost-effective and ensure you are well-equipped to handle your PGWP application with confidence and autonomy.

19. How to apply for a PGWP without legal assistance?

Applying for a PGWP without legal assistance is a viable and cost-effective option. The Canadian government provides all the necessary information and forms online for free. Begin by ensuring you meet the eligibility criteria, then gather essential documents like your passport, study permit, and educational transcripts. The application process is conducted online through the IRCC website, which offers clear, step-by-step instructions. Utilize technology and online tools to help organize and submit your application accurately.

While legal assistance can be beneficial for complex cases, many students find that they can successfully complete the application on their own by carefully following the guidelines provided by the government. For an initial evaluation of your situation and to check if you have the correct documents, use our free assessment form.

20. How to identify if my PGWP application needs legal expertise?

Determining whether to seek legal expertise for your PGWP application is a nuanced decision that hinges on the specifics of your case. The Canadian government’s online resources offer a robust framework for understanding the process, making it accessible and transparent for self-applicants. If your academic journey and immigration history are straightforward without anomalies, self-application is a practical and economical route.

If your situation involves intricate immigration backgrounds, unresolved academic queries, or previous challenges with immigration authorities, professional legal advice could be advantageous. While not mandatory, legal counsel can offer tailored guidance, ensuring your application navigates any complexities effectively. Balancing self-reliance with the option for professional advice is key, with many candidates finding success in self-application supported by the wealth of information provided by the Canadian authorities.

Post-PGWP Options and Extensions

21. Can I apply for an open work permit after PGWP?

Yes, you can apply for an open work permit after your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) under specific conditions. As of April 6, 2023, a new temporary public policy allows eligible current and former PGWP holders to apply for an open work permit valid for up to 18 months. This applies to those whose PGWPs expired or are expiring between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023. The application must be received between April 6, 2023, and December 31, 2023.

22. Can I extend my PGWP if it expires in 2024?

Typically, a PGWP is non-renewable. There was a special temporary policy in place that allowed for extensions for PGWPs expiring in 2023, but this policy has not been extended for those expiring in 2024. If your file was eligible for an extension, you should have received a message from IRCC regarding this matter.

23. What happens after post graduate work permit expires in Canada?

After your PGWP expires, you typically need to find another way to remain in Canada legally or leave the country. Usually, PGWPs are non-renewable, and the next steps often involve applying for different types of work permits or seeking permanent residency.

However, the new temporary policy until December 31, 2023, offers an extension for eligible PGWP holders. If you're not eligible for this extension or it's beyond the policy period, you should explore other immigration pathways or consider applying for permanent residence through programs like Express Entry or the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)​.

Family and Relationship Aspects

24. Can I bring my family to Canada with PGWP?

Family members of PGWP holders may be eligible for an open work permit if the principal foreign worker (you) meets certain conditions. These include holding a valid work permit or authorization to work without a permit, having a work permit that will remain valid for at least six months after the family member’s work permit application, and being employed in a skilled occupation.

Family members who can apply include spouses or common-law partners, dependent children, and, in some cases, grandchildren. It’s important to note that specific exclusions apply based on the foreign worker's status and type of work permit.

25. Can I sponsor my spouse under PGWP in Canada?

As a PGWP holder, you can potentially sponsor your spouse for an open work permit if you meet the outlined criteria. This includes being employed in a skilled job and having a valid work permit for the necessary duration. The spouse or common-law partner must also meet general eligibility requirements for a work permit.

26. How can I bring my parents to Canada permanently?

Bringing parents to Canada permanently is a more complex process and generally involves the Family Sponsorship program. This program is separate from the PGWP and has its own set of requirements and procedures.

As a temporary worker or student, you might not be eligible to sponsor your parents for permanent residency. Permanent residency sponsorship typically requires the sponsor to have permanent resident status or Canadian citizenship.

Travel and Mobility

27. Can I leave Canada while my PGWP is in process?

Leaving Canada while your PGWP is in process is possible. However, it's important to be aware that if you leave Canada after your work permit expires, you can’t work until your new application is approved. If you need to leave Canada, it's advisable to do so while your current permit is still valid. If you find yourself outside Canada with an expired permit, you must wait for the new application approval before resuming work

28. Can I travel outside Canada with PGWP?

With a PGWP, you are generally free to travel outside Canada. This freedom of movement is one of the benefits of an open work permit like the PGWP. It allows you to return to your home country or visit other countries without affecting the validity of your PGWP. Ensure that your travel documents, like your passport and PGWP, are valid and in order before planning any travel.

29. What happens if a visitor gives birth in Canada?

If a visitor or student gives birth in Canada, the child born is Canadian. This citizenship by birth on Canadian soil may have implications for the parent's immigration status and future applications.

However, it does not automatically confer any change in the status of the parents. Parents will still need to follow the standard immigration processes if they wish to change or extend their status in Canada​​.

Education and Academic Concerns

30. Can I study while on PGWP?

When holding a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada, your primary purpose is to gain work experience after your studies. While the PGWP is not specifically designed for further studies, it does not explicitly prohibit further education. However, if you choose to study on a PGWP, the key point to consider is that the PGWP is a work permit. Your ability to continue studying full-time could be limited, as the PGWP's primary focus is to allow graduates to work.

Applying for a new study permit may be appropriate if you wish to undertake significant further studies. This is especially relevant if your new course of study qualifies for another PGWP upon completion. It’s important to keep in mind that the PGWP is a one-time opportunity, usually granted for a duration equal to the length of your study program, up to a maximum of three years. Once issued, it cannot be extended, so planning your post-graduation pathway is crucial.

31. What are the implications of studying part-time on PGWP eligibility?

Regarding part-time study during your program, it's important to understand that to be eligible for a PGWP. You generally need to be a full-time student for the duration of your studies in Canada. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as if you are in the last semester of your program and don't need a full course load to complete your program.

However, being a part-time student in other semesters, especially without a valid reason, might affect your eligibility for a PGWP. Maintaining full-time status during your studies is crucial to ensure you meet the PGWP eligibility criteria. Always check the latest guidelines from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure compliance with current policies and requirements.

32. Do grades matter in PGWP?

While academic performance is important for completing your program, grades do not directly affect your eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. The primary requirements for a PGWP revolve around the completion of a study program of a certain duration at a recognized institution and maintaining full-time student status.

However, failing grades or having to repeat courses could extend the duration of your study program or affect your status as a full-time student. This could impact your PGWP eligibility indirectly. Ensuring that you successfully complete your courses and meet the requirements of your study program is essential for maintaining your eligibility for the PGWP.

Permanent Residency Pathways

33. Can I apply for permanent residency (PR) after PGWP?

For many international students, the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a stepping stone towards Canadian permanent residency (PR). After obtaining a PGWP, graduates can gain valuable Canadian work experience, which is highly beneficial for most Canadian immigration programs. Under the Express Entry system, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is one of the most common pathways for PGWP holders. To qualify under the CEC, you need at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada, which you can acquire during your time on a PGWP.

Besides the CEC, provinces in Canada have their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that often prioritize candidates with Canadian work experience. Therefore, working in a particular province on a PGWP could open doors to provincial nomination, another viable route to PR. It's important to note that each immigration program has its own requirements regarding work experience, language proficiency, and education, so you should explore various options and find the one that best fits your situation.

34. Can I get permanent residency (PR) after 1 year of study in Canada?

Gaining permanent residency (PR)  after just one year of study in Canada can be challenging but not impossible. Typically, immigration programs that lead to PR require more extensive educational backgrounds or work experience. However, studying in Canada for one year can be the first step in a longer journey towards permanent residency. After completing a one-year program, you may be eligible for a one-year PGWP, during which you can gain Canadian work experience.

This experience can significantly enhance your eligibility for various immigration programs, including the CEC or specific PNPs. Continuing your studies in Canada or undertaking another educational program might increase your chances of qualifying for more immigration pathways. It's crucial to have a strategic approach: combining your Canadian education and work experience, improving language skills, and considering further studies or specific job opportunities that align with in-demand skills in Canada.

Miscellaneous about the PGWP

35. What are the benefits of a post-graduate work permit in Canada?

Obtaining a PGWP in Canada presents several advantages. It allows international graduates to gain Canadian work experience, which is highly valuable, especially for those seeking permanent residency under programs like the Canadian Experience Class. This work experience can significantly enhance a graduate's professional development and career prospects in Canada and globally.

Additionally, the open nature of the PGWP provides the freedom to explore diverse job opportunities across various sectors and regions in Canada, contributing to a well-rounded professional experience.

36. Is PGWP and work permit the same?

PGWP differs from other work permits in Canada primarily in its flexibility. Unlike employer-specific work permits, the PGWP does not restrict the holder to work for a particular employer or in a specific job. This open work permit allows graduates to work for any employer in Canada, offering greater mobility and career development opportunities. Other work permits typically require a job offer or sponsorship from a Canadian employer and are often linked to specific work conditions and durations.

37. Does everyone get a PGWP?
Not everyone is eligible for a PGWP. To qualify, applicants must have completed a full-time study program of at least eight months at an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution. 
It's essential for applicants to apply for a PGWP within 180 days of receiving confirmation (like a transcript or an official letter) from their educational institution that they have met the requirements to complete their program. Meeting these criteria is crucial for eligibility, but it does not guarantee the issuance of a PGWP, as the final decision rests with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). To check your specific PGWP eligibility, we invite you to fill out our free assessment form.
38. Is there an age limit for PGWP?
There is no specific age limit for applying for a PGWP. The key eligibility criteria revolve around the applicant's study history in Canada rather than their age. This inclusivity ensures that international students of varying ages have the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience post-graduation.
39. What was the new immigration rule in Canada 2023 for PGWP?
As of 2023, there were no significant new rules specifically targeting the PGWP program. However, it's crucial to stay informed about any changes in immigration policies that could affect work permits or post-graduate opportunities in Canada. Applicants should always refer to the IRCC’s official website for the most current information or consult with authorized immigration representatives.
40. What will the new rules for international students in Canada 2024 be?
As of the last update in April 2023, specific new rules for international students in Canada for 2024 had not been officially announced. However, changes can occur in study permit regulations, work rights during and after studies, and permanent residency pathways. International students are advised to regularly check the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most current information. Staying informed about potential policy changes is crucial for planning your studies and post-graduation activities in Canada. For assistance in planning your studies and career in Canada, feel free to use our free assessment form.
41. Can my employer cancel my work permit in Canada?
In Canada, an employer does not have the authority to cancel an employee's work permit. Work permits, including the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), are issued by IRCC, and only they have the power to revoke such permits. However, if your work permit is employer-specific, losing your job might affect your status. In such cases, you may need to find new employment within the conditions of your permit or apply for a different permit. For PGWP holders, the permit is open, allowing flexibility to change employers without impacting their permit status.
42. Can I switch employers while on PGWP?
One of the significant benefits of the PGWP is its open nature, allowing permit holders to switch employers freely. This flexibility enables graduates to explore various employment opportunities across Canada without needing to apply for a new work permit for each change. When switching employers, it's important to ensure that any new employment aligns with the regulations of the PGWP and to maintain legal status in Canada throughout your employment period. For more information on your rights and options as a PGWP holder, consult our free assessment form.
43. What to do after applying for PGWP?
After submitting your PGWP application, you should monitor the status of your application through your IRCC account. While waiting for a decision, you are generally allowed to work full-time if your study permit was valid at the time of PGWP application submission and you complied with the conditions of your study permit. It's also a good time to plan for your next steps, whether in employment or further immigration pathways and ensure your passport remains valid throughout the period you expect to hold the PGWP. For additional assistance or to evaluate other options in case of delay or refusal, consult our free assessment form.
44. What happens if I don't get PGWP?
If your PGWP application is unsuccessful, it's crucial to understand the options available to you. You may consider reapplying or requesting a review if the refusal was due to missing or incorrect information in your initial application. Depending on your circumstances, exploring other work permits or visa options might also be viable. In any case, you must maintain legal status in Canada, which could involve applying for a visitor visa or another type of permit. Consulting with an immigration expert is recommended to explore all options and take appropriate action based on your situation.