Study Program Is Eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is urging prospective international students applying for a study permit to make more informed decisions when selecting a program of study in Canada. Those with the intention to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) need to ensure their program qualifies for a PGWP upon graduation, even if the program is offered by an academic institution on the government’s list of designated learning institutions (DLIs).
Recently, an American citizen, Yescenya Bigford, was denied a PGWP at the Canadian border on the basis that the program she enrolled in at Anderson College, Toronto does not qualify her to obtain a PGWP. Since the College is a private, non-degree granting school, it is not listed as a DLI. Therefore, international students who graduate from the college are not eligible for a PGWP. However, the college’s website had stated that its international students had the ‘possibility to work in Canada after graduation’ — a statement that has since been removed from the site.
CBSA officials granted Yescenya entry as a visitor for a year.
According to CBC Toronto, some private career colleges in Ontario have been ‘misleading’ international graduates hoping to stay and work in Canada by falsely advertising the possibility of a PGWP. In addition, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has dealt with many similar cases where international students are wrongly informed of the possibility of receiving a PGWP after their studies are complete.
Who is eligible for a PGWP?
Many international students who study at post-secondary institutions in Canada plan to stay and gain Canadian work experience. Under this program, international graduates could be granted an open work permit for up to three years, permitting them to work for any Canadian employer in any industry. Applicants are not required to have a Canadian job offer at the time of application.
The program is available for a majority of international students, as most public post-secondary institutions are deemed eligible by the federal government for the PGWP program. However, like the case of Yescenya, international students who apply to study at a non-degree granting private or vocational college may not be eligible for the program. The IRCC website states that the program is available to graduates of public post-secondary institutions, degree programs at private institutions, private post-secondary institutions that implement the same rules as public institutions, and some institutions in Quebec.
What are the eligibility restrictions for the PGWP program?
The note on the IRCC website calls for prospective study permit applicants to consult with the intended academic institutions and the provincial ministry of education to determine whether or not their program of study grants eligibility to the program.
Prospective applicants to the program must hold a valid study permit and have completed full-time studies with a minimum study period of at least eight months. Other restrictions apply based on the type of educational institution chosen and the study program chosen by the student. With over 125,000 study permits issued last year by the government of Canada, students are encouraged to understand their options and requirements for working in Canada after graduation before beginning their studies.