Updates to the Post-Graduate Work Permit
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently issued several updates to the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program. There are two major changes to the program in addition to several smaller facilitative measures that have been implemented to improve the overall success of the program.
First, applicants no longer need to hold a valid study permit when applying for a post-graduation work permit. Graduate students must only have had a valid study permit at some point during the 6-month period following their graduation. This means that if your study permit expires the day after you graduate, you no longer need to apply for a study permit renewal while you obtain documents and prepare your PGWP application.
Second, IRCC extended the deadline to apply for a PGWP from 90 days to 6 months. This extension will allow new graduates more time to submit their application, thus reducing feelings of stress and worry.
In addition to these major changes, subsections of the processing instructions have also been changed. These sections include the PGWP eligibility requirements, restrictions, work permit issuance and validity, work permit access for graduates of Quebec institutions, accelerated studies, distance learning, flight school graduates, Canadian educational programs with an overseas component, and TRV/eTA issuance for PGWP work permit applicants.
How to Apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit
1. Determine if you’re eligible for the PGWP. If you answer yes to the following questions, you may be eligible.
a. Did graduate from a designated learning institution?
b. Was your program at least 8 months in length?
c. Did you receive a degree, diploma, or certificate?
d. Did you hold a valid study permit?
e. Did you maintain full-time status throughout the duration of your studies?
f. Note: This is not an extensive list of eligibility requirement. Be sure to check the full set of requirements in advance of submitting an application.
2. Prepare your documents. You will need:
a. An official letter from your school indicating your completion of a program.
b. An official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website.
3. Choose whether you will apply online or on paper.
a. Note: If you need to extend or change the conditions of your PGWP, you should apply on paper.
If you choose to apply for a PGWP online, you will need to submit completed copies of all required forms. Some of these forms include Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker; Use of a Representative; and Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual. Next, you will need to scan copies of all important documents (i.e. passport, citizenship certificates, birth certificates, etc.). You will also need to include a final transcript from your studies and a letter from the institution indicating your graduation. Finally, you will need to pay your application fees, processing fees, biometrics fees, and any third-party fees applicable (i.e. medical exams, police certificates, language tests, etc.).
If you choose to apply for a PGWP on paper, you will need to obtain an application package. This package contains the forms mentioned above as well as a post-graduate work permit checklist to help you sort your documents and forms. It is important to note that there are different application packages for those who apply from inside of Canada versus those who apply from outside of Canada. You will need to include hard copies of all of your documents (as opposed to scans in an online application). You will also be required to pay your application fees, processing fees, biometrics fees, third-party fees (if applicable), and postage fees to mail your application. Be sure to mail your package to the appropriate address listed in the application package.
Check Post-Graduate Work Permit Processing Time
Check to see the application processing time for the Post-Graduate Work Permit.
*It is important to note that the processing time for the Post-Graduate Work Permit changes throughout the year based on a number of factors. As such, you should check the calculator to see the most up-to-date processing time for the immigration program you apply for.
While the updates to the PGWP have improved the application conditions for many individuals, there are still several steps involved. It is important to read through the application guide very carefully and be sure that you complete all of the forms correctly, include all of the required supporting documents, and organize each item in the application package according to the document checklist. If you do not follow the application requirements, your application is at risk of being rejected. If this happens, your application fee will not be refunded.
It is often beneficial for applicants to seek the guidance of a professional in the field. Whether you retain an immigration professional for their full services, or hire them to consult on your case, their expertise could be the difference between your application being denied and your application being approved.