The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (“PGWPP“) allows students who have graduated from most Canadian public post-secondary institutions to stay and work in Canada upon graduation. As someone who remembers the frustration of international students who had to leave Canada upon graduating even though they would have jumped at the opportunity to stay, work, and pay taxes in Canada, it is certainly a welcome program.
The PGWPP permits are open work permits. There is no requirement for a job offer prior to applying. There is no restriction on the type of work that can be performed.
If an international student in Canada completes a post-secondary program of study that is two or more years, the student can apply for a three-year work permit. If the program of study is between eight months and two years, then the student will be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of the student’s studies.
The application for the PGWPP must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification that you have met the requirements for graduation.
One question that frequently arises is what would happen if a student obtains a second one-year diploma after having already completed a one-year diploma prior to that? Would the student be eligible for a one year PGWPP or a two-year?
Pursuant to a recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada operational bulletin, it appears that the length of the two one-year degrees may be combined to obtain a three-year work permit. The bulletin uses the example of a student who obtains a one-year diploma program in Canada, and then completes a one-year MBA. Prior to this operational bulletin, many assume that the student would only have been eligible for a one-year work permit. The recent bulletin, however, clarifies that a three-year work permit would be issued.
Implication of Doing a Victory Lap
A second clarification in the operational bulletin is that a student in the last session of a program of study needs to only take two additional classes in order to be eligible for the program.
For those that are doing what is known as a “victory lap”, or who have to take one or two courses to get their degree, this is also a welcome change.