PGWP extension: How to proceed?

Its officially graduation time for many students in Canada and many of you are looking to stay in Canada after graduation. For international students on a study permit, this means that you need to apply for a post graduate work permit in order to be legally able to stay and work in Canada after you graduate.

The post-graduate work permit is a one-time chance to gain valuable Canadian work experience after finishing your degree. The Canadian work experience you gain through this permit is also a key factor in obtaining permanent residency.

We often hear horror stories of students who studied in Canada for a 3 year program and only get 1 year on their post-graduate work permit. Even worse, some students fail to meet the deadline to apply for a post-graduate work permit and thus, miss their chance to obtain one.

If you're a graduating student looking to obtain a post-graduate work permit, we are here to help! Here's our best tips to help you obtain your post-graduate work permit:

  • No job offer needed: You do not need a job offer from an employer in order to be eligible for a post-graduate work permit. The post-graduate work permit is similar to an open work permit, which means you are not limited to one employer.

  • Apply early: You must apply for your post-graduate work permit within 90 days of receiving your program completion letter. Your study permit must also still be valid when you submit your application.

  • If your passport expires soon: You should think of renewing your passport as you will only obtain a post graduate work permit for the remainder of the validity of your passport. (Ex. you are eligible for a 3 year post-graduate work permit but your passport expires in 2 years, your permit will only be valid for 2 years, and you will have to reapply to obtain the remainder).

  • Explain anything that is unusual: You should write a letter of explanation to clear out anything that may seem unusual about your application. For example, some Quebec students started studying without a certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) and their school credited their studies. It is necessary to explain anything that seems out of the ordinary, or else you might not obtain a 3 year work permit.

  • To maximize a 3 years post-graduate work permit: If you are trying to use two diplomas to maximize the length of your post-graduate work permit, make sure that you show the completion letters and transcripts for both studies. The officer will only grant you a 3 year work permit if you have studied in Canada for 2 years or more.

  • If you are going to the border: If you are looking to obtain your post-graduate work permit at the Canadian border, you must do so at the designated times.

  • You can work full-time while waiting for your permit: If you submitted your application for your post-graduate work permit before your study permit expired and you have completed your study program, you may start working while waiting for a decision to be made on your work permit application.

  • Additional documents may be required: If the officer requires additional documentation before issuing your work permit, you will only have 7 days to submit them, so check your account often!

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