Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP): COVID-19 program delivery

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

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Temporary policy changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)

Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on international students and the post-secondary sector, temporary policy changes have been made to post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility requirements for the following groups of students:

To be eligible for the temporary policy changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), these students must meet one of the following requirements:

Important: Time spent studying outside of Canada only begins to count towards PGWP length after the department receives the study permit application. As such, studies undertaken before the department received the study permit application can be deducted from the PGWP length. Note that the minimum length a PGWP can be issued for is 8 months. Therefore, if a student only completes 7 months of studies after their study permit application is received, they are not eligible for a PGWP. Students are encouraged to apply for their study permits prior to starting their studies.

Application deadline

Graduates in Canada

Students graduating in Canada or who apply at the port of entry are still required to apply for the PGWP within 180 days of holding a valid study permit, and within 180 days of receiving written notification of program completion from their designated learning institution (DLI).

Graduates outside of Canada

Students who graduate from outside of Canada and meet the eligibility requirements of the temporary PGWP policy changes described above do not need to hold or have held a valid study permit within 180 days of applying for the PGWP. In order to be eligible to apply, these graduates must either have a study permit or have received a study permit approval, and they must still apply within 180 days of receiving written notification of program completion from their DLI.

Distance learning

Under normal circumstances, all distance learning courses completed outside Canada are excluded from the time accumulated towards the length of the post-graduation work permit, and 50% of a student’s courses must be completed in Canada and in person.

The following temporary policy changes have been made to better accommodate eligible international students who have completed distance learning in or outside Canada.

All students who were enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program in progress in March 2020 or who started a program of study from spring 2020 up to and including the summer 2022 semester are not required to complete 50% of their program (or programs) of study in Canada. Up to 100% of their program can be completed online from outside Canada.

Time spent studying outside of Canada can be counted towards the overall length of the post-graduation work permit until August 31, 2022. Any time spent studying outside of Canada after August 31, 2022 should be deducted from the length of the post-graduation work permit.

Note: The minimum length of time a PGWP should be issued for is 8 months.

All other program criteria and requirements must be met.

Note: In cases where a study permit application is submitted before a program starts but is refused, if a subsequent study permit application is received before the end of the program and is eventually approved, the studies undertaken after the first study permit application was received by the department count towards the length of the PGWP.

Program stacking

Eligible students who graduate from more than one eligible program of study may be able to both

Each program needs to be a minimum of 8 months in duration, and the programs need to be completed from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) within 2 years as per current instructions on determining the length of the post-graduation work permit.

Note: For vocational programs in Quebec, the diploma of vocational studies (DVS) must be at least 900 hours in length, but an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) can be less than 900 hours in length when submitted in combination with the DVS.

Part-time status

Students in or outside of Canada may have been required to put their studies on hold or become part-time students due to course cancellations as a result of public health measures at DLIs. For the winter, spring and summer 2020 semesters only, when a student’s status changed from full time to part time due to changes in course delivery at a DLI, their eligibility for a post-graduation work permit will not be impacted.

Documents to submit

Due to school closures, many international students may be unable to obtain a letter of completion or final transcript from their DLI. As a temporary facilitation measure, applicants who apply for a PGWP will be allowed to submit an application without their letter of completion or final transcript. When IRCC processes the application, the documents will be requested by the processing officer as per the procedures for requests for additional documents on open applications.

Applicants who need to restore their status will also be eligible to apply without their letter of completion or final transcript.

Applicants residing in Quebec

Foreign nationals who study in Quebec are not required to have a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) when submitting a PGWP application. As the PGWP is an open work permit and Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exempt, a valid CAQ or study permit is not required at the time of PGWP issuance.

If foreign nationals are applying for a PGWP and their study permit has expired, they are permitted to apply to restore their status as a student without a CAQ and apply for the PGWP at the same time, as the CAQ is not required for the PGWP.

Work authorization after submitting a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application

As per paragraph R186(w), graduates who apply for a work permit, such as a post-graduation work permit, before the expiry of their study permit are eligible to work full time without a work permit while waiting for a decision on their application if all of the following apply:

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