Post Graduate Work Permit Canada Processing Time

Curious to know the timeline for receiving your Post Graduate Work Permit? Or you didn’t apply yet and would like to know what to expect during the application process? Than this post is for you!

Post graduate work permit (PGWP) is a great program for those International students who would like to acquire valuable Canadian work experience after graduation. Also, this program is one of the bridging mechanisms for foreign students to transition from temporary resident status to permanent residency. International graduates can work full time while they wait for the Immigration Officer’s decision (implied status) regarding their PGWP application as long as the student applied within 90 days of program completion while their study permit is still valid. A Study Permit will be invalid at 90 days after program completion, even if the expiry date on the study permit is for longer. Therefore, VIU students are advised to apply within 90 days of program completion in order to take advantage of being able to work full time while waiting for their PGWP approval. This work experience, if in an eligible work category, counts for Canadian work experience that can be applied to gaining more points towards permanent residency. 

Length of the PGWPs

The length of PGWP depends on the student’s study program length, the actual amount of time the student spent studying and duration of studies while the student was physically in Canada.  PGWP can be granted for a maximum of three years. For example, if an International student graduated from VIU with a four year BA degree program, she/he would only be eligible for a maximum three year PGWP. If the student graduated from a one year PDDB program at VIU, they would be eligible only for a one year PGWP. It is important to note that even if the student completes a one year program in two years, they are still only eligible for a one year PGWP.  If a student completes two one year programs in 1.5 years, an officer may issue a work permit for only 1.5 years. If a student accelerates the graduation of a two-year program and completes it in 1.5 years they may be eligible for up to a 3-year work permit.  Students who were not enrolled continuously full time in their programs may not qualify for PGWP unless they have received formal permission – “leave of absence” from their program.

In general, graduating from a study program that is equal to two years or more, qualifies a graduate for up to three years of work permit. If the program of studies less than two years but more than eight months, student will be granted work permit for the duration of the program of studies. For example, graduates of VIU’s Bachelor of Hospitality Management four year program or Hospitality Management two year Diploma program both will be eligible for a three-year PGWP.

Current In-Canada Application Processing Times - Can Am Immigration

Each International graduate’s case for PGWP will be different.  Students may graduate from the same program of study at VIU, but each applicant’s circumstances is different.  Immigration officers can also interpret the duration of studies in different ways so there’s no guarantee of the length of the PGWP. 

NOTE: Time spent outside Canada (co-op, thesis writing, online courses, etc.) will likely be subtracted from PGWP length.

Post Graduate Work Permit Canada Processing Time

A PGWP can take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to process. While waiting for your PGWP, you are free to work in Canada provided you applied prior to the expiry date of your student permit. 

You have 180 days to apply for your PGWP from the date you completed all the requirements of your program of study. 

If you leave Canada after your studies have been completed, you can now apply for a PGWP from overseas. Previously post-graduation work permit applications needed to be submitted exclusively from within Canada. If a PGWP application is submitted from outside of Canada, additional documentation may be requested depending on the visa office that will process the application.

Canada Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP): How To Apply

Who’s eligible for PGWP?

To be eligible for a PGWP a student must have:

  • graduated from a full-time academic, vocational or professional program at VIU which is longer than 8 months
  • received written confirmation that the student has successfully completed the program
  • received a graduation letter (Bldg.255) and official transcript (Bldg.200 or order online from student account)
  • a valid study permit and have complied with its conditions (or have changed status to the visitor or restored student status if study permit expired)  or left Canada after study permit expiry
  • continuously studied full time (minimum 9 credits per semester) except for the final semester where part-time studies are allowed
  • a student must cease any type of work upon completion of the program of study. If applied for PGWP within 90 days on a valid study permit can start working full time from the date of application.
  • a student may apply up to 180 days after program completion, but applying later than 90 days may lead to disadvantages. Please consult with Immigration Advisor.

NOTE: Study Permits will be invalid 90 days after completing the program of study even if the date indicates it is valid for a longer period. Program completion day at VIU is the date when students receive formal notification of completion of the program or student’s final marks are issued. Please remember, the clock starts ticking for 90 days from the date of program completion. 


Who’s ineligible for PGWP?                              

International students must take into consideration the possible negative consequences of planning to enroll in online courses. A small percentage (1-2) of online courses for the duration of the entire studies is acceptable, but no more than that.

The following students are not eligible to apply for PGWP:

  • studied online inside or outside of Canada, the length of the program is 6 months or less
  • obtained Canadian government scholarship (Canadian Commonwealth, CIDA, DFAIT) 
  • obtained Fullbright or Killam Fellowships
  • Rotary exchange students
  • obtained scholarship Canada-Chile or Canada-China
  • studied part-time, took time off without universities permission
  • not studied continuously full time
  • non-compliance with study permit conditions or other.
Applying for a post graduation work permit within Canada - YouTube

How to apply for PGWP?

International students graduating from VIU can apply inside or outside Canada within 180 of program completion (note advantages above of applying within 90 days):

  • Online (application processing time is shorter and it is a one-step process)
  • Paper (application processing time is longer and application fee must be paid online)

Students from visa exempt countries and the US, Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, have an option to apply at a Canadian Port of Entry (POE).  There can be complicating factors to apply at a POE, so if considering this option please see a VIU Immigration Advisor.   Spouses of International graduates will not be authorized automatically for the postgraduate open work permit. It will be a two-step process for spouses. When the International graduate is employed in a high skills position, they can apply for their spouse’s open work permit with a copy of their job contract and with three pay slips. Processing fee for PGWP is $155 CAD, the open work permit fee is $100 CAD.

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