Making the Post Graduate Work Permit Work for You
A major benefit of going to a Canadian post-secondary school is having permission to work. As many international students know, when studying at university in Canada, you are allowed to be employed. This can be part-time while classes are on, and full-time while classes are on break. What many international students don’t know much about, however, is the Post-Graduate Work Permit, or the “PGWP”. This permit allows international students to stay in Canada for work after graduating from their program. The PGWP is issued for up to three years and lets you work anywhere in the country, and for any employer who accepts you. There are a few exceptions, like most immigration programs, but if you follow the rules, and graduate in Canada, the PGWP is an excellent option. So, why is everybody talking about the PGWP? Here are just a few reasons:
A useful way to replace your expired Study Permit
Being an international student in Canada is fun, but it’s also a lot of hard work. Canadian universities challenge students and push them to be their best. Students are very busy people. They often work so hard that they don’t make time to plan. Planning your future after graduation is really important, especially for international students. If this is you, make sure you don’t “miss the boat”. Remember, after you graduate, your study permit will expire. So, why not replace your study permit status with the PGWP status? Won’t it feel better to earn money rather than spending it on tuition!
PGWPs allow you to work anywhere in Canada without a job offer
Many immigration programs in Canada are linked to specific schools or job offers. This can limit students to one city or one area of the country. A really great benefit of the PGWP is that it is “open”. This means you can work for pretty much any employer at any location in Canada.
The PGWP is attractive to employers
When you apply to Canadian jobs, your immigration work status is important. If some employers see that you need a special work permit or that your study permit will expire, they might not want to hire you. Now, if employers see that you have a multi-year open work permit, this is good. They will see that you are easy to hire legally, won’t need extra paperwork completed, and won’t have to wait for lengthy processing times. The PGWP can do this for you!
The PGWP connects academic life to real-world practice
Since most university courses are somewhat aligned with the Canadian work-world, the PGWP is helpful. It allows grads to make the connection between academic theory and the “real-world”. Connecting the theory you learned in school to the practice in the Canadian work-world is one of the best learning experiences one can have. This connection also looks awesome on your resume.
Application timing is very important to qualify for the PGWP, you must submit your application within 180 days of completing your studies. So, this basically means you must apply within six months of graduation. If you don’t, you’ll lose your chance for this awesome work permit. Note the deadlines on your calendar. Don’t miss this opportunity!
The PGWP is your “ticket” to permanent residency
The Canadian Experience Class visa (CEC) is aimed at allowing international students the opportunity to live in Canada permanently. By following a few rules, this basically allows you to live and work in Canada freely. Now, here is the important part – in order to qualify for the CEC, you’ll need one full year experience in a NOC 0, A, or B job (click here for details). The PGWP gives you the perfect chance to do this. So, while on your PGWP, be sure to find a job that fits the NOC categories. You will thank yourself in the future!
The pathway to citizenship
As mentioned in the last section, a very useful way to get your CEC visa is by getting one year of work experience with the PGWP. After you have your CEC PR visa, you’ll then be on track for a Canadian Passport. After you’ve been in Canada for 3 out of 5 years on the CEC, you should be able to apply for citizenship.
As you can see, the Canadian immigration system is complicated, but it also offers lots of opportunity. As an international student, be sure to use the PGWP to your advantage. With a focused plan, hard-work at school, and a well-scheduled calendar, you can do it!