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  • Amir Akhtar

Post-Graduation Work Permit applicants now allowed to work after travelling outside Canada

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

International student graduates who are waiting on a Post-Graduation Work Permit decision may now leave Canada and maintain their eligibility to work full time once they return

International student graduates will no longer need to remain in Canada while their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is in process.

As of February 21, graduates who are eligible to work full time without a work permit will be able to maintain their ability to work legally in Canada even if they leave and re-enter the country.

International students must apply for their PGWP before their study permit expires in order to be allowed to work full time.

It can take upwards of 90 days for a PGWP decision to go through.

In order to work in Canada without a work permit, PGWP applicants must satisfy the following requirements:

  • They held a valid study permit at the time of the PGWP application.

  • They have completed their study program and obtained a degree, diploma or certificate.

  • They were full-time students enrolled at a designated learning institution in a post-secondary, vocational or professional training program of at least six months in duration.

  • They did not work more than 20 hours per week during their study program.

If the federal government refuses the application for a work permit, the graduate must then stop working as soon as he or she is informed by the immigration ministry.

PGWP and Canadian permanent residence

After completing a study program, certain international students may be eligible to stay and work in Canada with a PGWP.

If their application for a work permit is approved, international student graduates can work in Canada for a period of eight months to three years.

If the ultimate goal is to settle in Canada, work experience gained through a PGWP can greatly facilitate a graduate’s path to Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system.

Express Entry is an application management system for Canada’s three main economic class immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program, and Canadian Experience Class.

Immigration candidates who are eligible for an Express Entry-managed program are ranked according to factors deemed to determine their success in the Canadian labour force. A candidate’s age, official language proficiency, education, and work experience all go towards their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score.

Those with high CRS scores are more likely to be selected for an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence through regular Express Entry draws.

Canadian work experience is highly valuable towards a candidate’s overall CRS score.

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