Staying & Working in Canada After Graduation: Find Out if You’re Eligible toApply

buildings in Toronto Canada

Canada is a student-friendly country and home to some of the world’s top universities. Each year, Canadian universities and colleges attract numbers of international students, who in most cases want to extend their stay in the country.

Graduates in Canada are eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if they have completed studies at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and would like to stay temporarily in the country to work, Erudera reports.

After graduation, individuals may be eligible for a work permit in Canada if they belong to some particular groups, which are:

  • Accelerated programs
  • Distance learning
  • Taking leave from studies
  • Transfers between educational institutions
  • Canadian study programs with an overseas component
  • Flight school graduates
  • Graduates of certain Quebec schools

According to a statement published on the Government of Canada website, a designated learning institution is an institution that has received approval from a provincial and territorial government to host international students.

Nevertheless, the government notes that graduation from a DLI doesn’t automatically make students eligible for a post-graduation work permit. Students whose study programs last less than eight months are not eligible for a PGWP.

“We may give you a PGWP that’s valid for up to the same length as your study program . For example, if you completed a 9-month program, we may give you a work permit for up to 9 months,” the government explains.

Those who studied for two years or more in Canada may receive a PGWP that lasts three years. At the same time, graduates who completed more than one year of studies may receive a PGWP that combines the length of each study program. These programs, according to the government’s statement, must be:

  • PGWP-eligible 
  • at least eight months in length

Before applying for a post-graduation work permit, applicants are advised to check the validity of their passports. The document should be valid for the entire length of time that applicants should be eligible.

In cases when the passport expires earlier, graduates will be issued a work permit that can be used until the passport expires, and the latter will be notified if they must extend it in order to get the full validity.

Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, students can complete studies almost fully online between spring 2020 and August 31, 2022. The latter should be enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program in order to be eligible for a PGWP.

Other criteria that distance learning students should meet include: they were outside the country due to COVID-19 but continued pursuing online classes, started a program in any semester from spring 2020 to summer 2022 or their program was in progress since March 2020, they had a study permit or approval for a study permit.

“If your courses were moved online due to the pandemic, the time you spend studying online from within Canada still counts toward the length of your PGWP. However, it’s highly recommended that you attend in-class options when offered,” the Canadian government’s statement reads.

Graduates will be allowed to work full time until a decision on their work permit is made.  

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