Canada Allows Work Permit Extension for PGWP holders - 2023 Update
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) extension program is a critical pathway for international students who want to gain valuable work experience in Canada after completing their studies. The PGWP program allows eligible international students to stay and work in Canada for up to three years, providing them with a unique opportunity to gain work experience and potentially transition to permanent residency in Canada. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of the PGWP extension program in 2023, and how it can benefit international students.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for international students in Canada. However, the Canadian government has implemented several measures to support international students during this time, including allowing online studies to be counted towards PGWP eligibility, and permitting students to work more than 20 hours per week during the pandemic. These measures will continue to be in place in 2023, providing much-needed support for international students during these uncertain times.
Work Permit Extension 2023
Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has announced that international students with expiring Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) can apply for an Open Work Permit extension starting April 6, 2023. The Open Work Permit extension will be available to those whose PGWP expires in 2023, as well as those whose PGWP expired in 2022 and applied for IRCC’s Open Work Permit extension last year. Candidates can apply for the extension on IRCC’s website and receive an interim work permit authorization by email, which they can show employers to continue working legally in Canada.
Furthermore, those whose legal status in Canada has expired can apply to restore their status and get an interim Open Work Permit authorization at the same time, as early as April 6, even if their status expired outside of the 90-day grace period provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC will send messages to eligible candidates inviting them to log into their online IRCC Secure Account starting on April 6.
PGWPs are available to international students who graduate from an eligible educational program at a Canadian designated learning institution (DLI), such as colleges, universities, and other educational institutions approved by the government to welcome international students. PGWP holders can work for any employer of their choice in Canada for a maximum duration of three years, which is determined by the length of the educational program completed by the international graduate.
PGWPs are highly sought after by international students due to the benefits of Canada’s economic class immigration programs, which reward candidates who have studied and worked in Canada. Such study and work experience can help to support the labour market integration of international students who go on to become Canadian permanent residents. As such, certain pathways, such as the federal Express Entry system, offer more points to those with Canadian study and work experience, and there are also provincial pathways available specifically to international graduates.
Canada’s receptiveness to global talent, including its increasing immigration levels, is contributing to higher international student levels. Canada hosted over 800,000 international students at the end of 2022, an all-time record. PGWP holders account for the majority of temporary residents (TRs) who transition to permanent residence (PR), with nearly 98,000 PGWP holders becoming permanent residents in 2022, which is about 82 per cent of all TRs who became PRs. Minister Fraser has stated his desire to facilitate more TR to PR transitions via Express Entry and IRCC has made two exceptions in recent years, enabling those with expiring PGWPs to apply for Open Work Permit extensions to give these individuals more time to potentially obtain permanent residence.
Who is Eligible for PGWP?
To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada, an international student must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. The duration of the PGWP will depend on the length of the program of study completed in Canada, with a maximum validity of up to three years.
Other eligibility requirements include maintaining a full-time student status throughout the program of study, completing the program of study successfully, and having no active program violations or serious criminal records.
It's important to note that not all programs of study and institutions in Canada are eligible for a PGWP, so it's recommended for international students to check the eligibility criteria before applying for a study program in Canada.
What are the benefits of applying for a PGWP?
There are several benefits of applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada. Some of these benefits include:
Gaining Canadian work experience: The PGWP allows international students to work in Canada for a period of up to three years, giving them the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
Eligibility for permanent residence: Having Canadian work experience can increase an international student's eligibility for permanent residence in Canada through various immigration programs, such as the Express Entry system and provincial nominee programs.
Continued stay in Canada: The PGWP allows international students to remain in Canada after graduation, which can provide them with additional time to explore their options for further studies or permanent residence.
Flexibility in choosing employers: PGWP holders can work for any employer in Canada, giving them the flexibility to choose a job that best suits their skills and interests.
Competitive advantage in the job market: Having Canadian work experience can make an international student more competitive in the Canadian job market and increase their chances of securing a job offer.
Overall, the PGWP is a valuable opportunity for international students to gain work experience and potentially pursue permanent residence in Canada.
What are the steps to apply for PGWP?
Here are the general steps to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada:
Determine your eligibility: To apply for a PGWP, you must have completed a program of study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada. The program must have been at least 8 months long and led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
Apply for a study permit: Before you can apply for a PGWP, you must have a valid study permit.
Apply for a PGWP: You can apply for a PGWP within 180 days of completing your program of study. You must apply online through the IRCC website and provide all the required documents, including your passport, study permit, and transcripts.
Pay the application fee: The current fee for a PGWP application is $255 CAD. You can pay online using a credit or debit card.
Wait for a decision: Processing times for PGWP applications vary depending on the time of year and the volume of applications received. You can check the status of your application online using your IRCC account.
Receive your PGWP: If your application is approved, you will receive your PGWP by mail. The length of the permit will depend on the length of your program of study, up to a maximum of 3 years.
It's important to note that these steps are general and may vary depending on individual circumstances.
What are the documents required to apply for PGWP?
To apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), you will need to submit several documents, including:
Passport: A valid passport or travel document that proves your identity and citizenship.
Proof of completion: A letter from your designated learning institution (DLI) that confirms that you have completed your program of study. This letter must include the date you completed your program, the length of the program, and the name of the program.
Transcript: An official transcript or a copy of your transcript that shows that you have met the requirements of your academic program.
PGWP application form: You will need to fill out and submit the PGWP application form.
Language test results: You must provide results from an approved language test, such as IELTS, CELPIP or TEF, to prove your proficiency in English or French.
Biometrics: You will need to provide your biometric information, including fingerprints and a photograph.
Work history: If you have previous work experience in Canada, you may need to provide documents that prove your work history, such as a letter of employment or pay stubs.
Fees: You will need to pay the application fee, which varies depending on the type of work permit you are applying for.
Note that the documents required may vary depending on your individual circumstances.
Who is not eligible to apply for PGWP?
You may not be eligible to apply for PGWP in the following scenarios:
If your study permit expired more than 180 days before you applied, you will not be eligible for a PGWP.
If you have already received a PGWP for a previous program of study, you will not be eligible for a second PGWP unless you complete another eligible program of study at a higher level.
International students who studied English or French as a second language, or took general interest or self-improvement courses, are not eligible for a PGWP.
International students who participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program or received funding from Global Affairs Canada are not eligible for a PGWP, unless they received the Study in Canada scholarship.
International students who received the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile or participated in the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchanges Program or Organization of American States Fellowships Program are not eligible for a PGWP.
Students who completed the major part of their study program through distance learning, or completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada, are not eligible for a PGWP.
Students who completed a program from a private institution in one province or territory that was delivered through a curriculum licensing agreement with a PGWP-eligible public institution located in a different province or territory are not eligible for a PGWP.
What is the processing time for a PGWP application?
The processing time for a PGWP application varies depending on various factors such as the volume of applications, the completeness of the application, and the type of program or institution the applicant has completed. Generally, the processing time can take up to 180 days or six months. However, some applications may be processed faster or slower than this time frame. It's essential to apply for a PGWP well in advance of when you plan to start working in Canada to allow for adequate processing time.
What doesn’t count toward the length of your PGWP?
There are certain types of work that do not count towards the length of your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). These include:
Self-employment or working as an independent contractor
Work that was done while you were not authorized to work in Canada
Work that was done while you were a part-time student
Work that was done while you were studying at an institution that was not designated to host international students
Co-op placements or internships that were completed as part of your program of study, if they were not a requirement for graduation
Work done after the expiry of your PGWP or after you have applied for restoration of your status, unless you have received a bridging open work permit.
The PGWP can be a crucial pathway to permanent residency in Canada. International students who gain work experience through the program may be eligible for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class or other immigration programs. By gaining Canadian work experience through the PGWP program, international students can demonstrate their value to Canadian employers, potentially leading to job offers and a pathway to permanent residency.
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