Last updated on February 11th, 2021
Canada’s Post-Graduate Work Permit (“PGWP”) program allows international students who have completed certain Canadian post-secondary programs to obtain work permits after graduating. The work permits are open, meaning that the graduates can work for any employer(s) in any Canadian province(s). It is a fantastic program that enhances the competitiveness of Canadian post-secondary institutions internationally, and is normally an essential transitory step for international graduates looking to eventually obtain Canadian permanent residency.
However, every year there are many international students who mistakenly think that they will be eligible to participate in the program after graduating only to discover midway through their studies that they cannot. It is accordingly very important that all international students in Canada understand how the PGWP program works.
Basis in Law
Section 205 of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides the government with the authority to create programs to issue work permits to foreign nationals when it is satisfied that public policy objectives relating to the competiveness of Canada’s economy or academic institutions are met. The PGWP is one of these programs, and detailed information about it can be found on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) website here.
As the Federal Court has noted in numerous decisions (such as Osahar v. Canada), immigration officers can determine these requirements to be binding.
Eligibility and Validity
Outside of Quebec, in order for an international graduate to obtain a PGWP after graduating, an international student must:
- have a valid study permit when applying for their PGWP;
- have continuously studied full time in Canada, except for the final academic session, where part-time studies are permitted;