Welcome Relief to International Students – Canada Extends Application Period For Post-Graduation Work Permits
In a welcome relief, Canada has extended the application period for Post-Graduation Work Permits where international graduates of eligible Canadian schools now have 180 days to apply for a PGWP from the earlier 90 days.
International students hoping to remain in Canada on a Post-Graduation Work Permit now have six months to apply once they obtain their notice of graduation and are no longer required to have a valid study permit.
The Government of Canada announced the changes on Thursday, February 14, along with other modifications to its popular Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program.
The extension doubles the amount of time recent graduates have to apply for a PGWP once their school issues their final marks, from 90 days to 180 days.
The earlier time frame of 90 days had been criticized as too short for students to get a job or if they do, to make a decision. Also, to be eligible for the work permit, students needed to have a valid study permit. Limiting the job search to 90 days meant students must start searching while their study permit is still valid and face lower chances of being hired because they have a narrower time frame to work with.
Another corresponding change is the removal of the requirement that international graduates have a valid study permit when applying for a PGWP.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship (IRCC) now say a study permit must only have been valid “at some point” during the 180 days that graduates now have to submit their PGWP application.
Study permits are generally issued for the duration of the student’s academic program. By effectively removing the valid study permit requirement, students will now have adequate time to obtain the documents they need to apply without the added stress of an expired permit.
“This is huge news for international graduates who are applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit,” said David Cohen, senior partner at the Campbell Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal.
“Doubling the amount of time they have to apply and allowing them to do so beyond the expiration date on their study visa will make a world of a difference for students who want to stay and gain valuable Canadian work experience.”
About the Post-Graduation Work Permit
A Post-Graduation Work Permit is an open work permit that allows international graduates of eligible Canadian designated learning institutions to stay and work in Canada for a period of up to three years after their studies are completed.
In order to be eligible, the study program must be at least eight months long and meet other specified criteria.
One advantage of the PGWP is the fact international graduates are not required to have a Canadian job offer at the time of application.
As an open work permit, international graduates with a PGWP can work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and change employers at any time.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) note that skilled Canadian work experience in occupations rated skill level A or B or skill type 0 under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC) can help international graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class.
The Canadian Experience Class is one of the three Federal High Skilled program managed by Canada’s Express Entry system, which expedites applications for Canadian permanent residence for eligible skilled foreign workers.