How to apply for a post-graduation work permit in Canada
Who wouldn't want to stay on to live and work in Canada?! Source: Sarah Pflug/Burst

Are you keen to find out whether you can stay on and work in Canada after graduation? If you’re currently studying in the country, applying for a work permit when you’re done with your studies is actually quite straightforward.

Unlike the H-1B visa in the neighbouring USA, the requirements in Canada are much less stringent and there is no lottery system.

This is why many students are choosing to study in the country, attracted by the more convenient pathway to working in the country and applying for permanent residency after a few years of work experience.

Having a Canadian degree qualification gives you more points to be eligible for work within the country, even if you return home or head to another country and decide to return to Canada later.

Here’s how to go about applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada:

Step 1: Find out if you’re eligible

Upon graduation, you have 180 days after your final grades are issued to apply for the PGWP. During these 180 days, your study permit must have been valid at some point to be eligible.

Once you receive confirmation from your university that you’ve completed your study programme, you must submit an official transcript and letter from your school (or diploma/degree certificate) within the 180 days.

However, if it’s past 180 days and you still want to apply, you may change your status to visitor. But this must be done within 90 days after your study permit expires or you’ll have to leave Canada.

The programme you have completed must be at least 8-months long and lead to either a degree, diploma or certificate from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

If you aren’t sure whether your university is a DLI, click here for the DLI eligibility list.

During your time as a student, you must have maintained full-time status each semester with the exception of your final semester, which can be part-time, to meet the eligibility criteria.

Step 2: Find out how long it’s valid for

The length of validity for your PGWP generally depends on the length of your study programme.

For example, if you completed a nine-month programme, your work permit will likely be issued for up to nine months. If you studied for two years, you might be given three-year validity on your work permit.

If you plan on staying in Canada and your study permit expires before you apply for a PGWP, you should change your status to visitor. You have up to 90 days after your study permit expires to restore your status or you’ll have to leave the country.

Step 3: Apply!

Applying online for your work permit is much faster and more convenient. Source: Shutterstock

Once you have your documents in order, you can either apply online or on paper. The Canada Immigration & Citizen department encourages you to order online unless you’re extending your permit, which means you’ll have to apply on paper.

This is because it’s faster, you can review your application before you send it and there are no courier fees.

There’s also a handy instruction guide on the website you should read before you apply to make sure everything is in order –  it includes the forms you need to fill out.

To apply online, you’ll need a scanner/camera to make electronic copies of your documents.

You will also need a valid credit or debit card to pay for the processing fee of CAD$255 (USD 191.48). In most cases, you’ll also need to pay a biometrics fee upon application of $85 which covers fingerprint collection costs and your digital photo.

According to the Canada Immigration & Citizenship website, “After you pay the biometrics fee with a complete application, we’ll send you a letter confirming that you need to give your biometrics and where you can go. You must show this letter when you give your biometrics.”

To give your biometrics, book an appointment at a collection point nearby.

Step 4: Wait for your results

After you’ve submitted your application, you need to wait for approval, which normally takes up to 87 days if you’ve applied online.

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