Last Updated on September 30, 2013 by Steven Meurrens

The following is an e-mail exchange between an immigration representative and Citizenship and Immigration Canada regarding Post-Graduation Work Permits.  The Post-Graduate Work Permit is a phenomenal program which allows graduates of Canadian post-secondary students to work in Canada on open work permits.  It is not clear, however, whether people who complete a program, and then go into another program that they don’t complete, are eligible. 

Please note that what I have reproduced below should not be viewed as legal advice.  The reproduction of question and answer has not occurred with the affiliation of the Government of Canada, nor with the endorsement of the Government of Canada.

Question – May 18, 2013

Dear Madam I Sir,

I have a question about post-graduate work permits and Operational Bulletin 194. http://www. cic. qc. ca/english/resources/manuals/bulletins/20 1 0/ob 194A. asp

OB 194 is clear that when an individual completes a credential, and then earns another credential immediately after completing the first, then the individual can combine the duration of the two programs when calculating the length of validity his/her post-graduate work permit

My question pertains to the opposite scenario. Where an individual completes a credential, and then immediately starts a different program but does not complete it, then is that individual able to get a PGWP for his first program even though it has been more than 90 days?

For example, if someone completes a B Eng and instead of getting a PGWP enrolls in a M Eng program, but part way through the M Eng. program decides that they do not want to complete it, then can that person get a PGWP valid for three years because they completed the bachelors and has always been in Canada on study permits?

Thank you,

Answer – May 23, 2013

The person has 90 days from the completion of their program to apply for the post-graduate work permit. If the person continues studying in a new program, as you stated, they can combine their programs and it is 90 days from the end of the ‘combined’ programs. Please note that the first program must be a minimum of 8 months in duration.

However, in your example, if the person does not complete the second program then they have 90 days from the completion of their first program to apply for the post-graduate work permit.

I don’t understand the motivation behind this policy.  In my opinion, we should not be penalizing students who attempt to obtain further education that they cannot complete.  While “don’t start what you can’t finish” is certainly a motto that some people live by, people who attempt a Master’s shouldn’t lose eligibility for programs that they qualified for when they completed their Bachelors.