Operational Bulletin Operational Bulletin 194 – June 1, 2010

Clarification on the eligibility of combined programs for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and the last semester of study

Issue

Clarification on the eligibility of combined programs for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) and on full-time versus part-time in the last semester of study.

Background

The PGWPP allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Post-graduation work permits are open work permits, meaning that there are no restrictions on the type of employment performed and no requirement for a job offer prior to applying for a work permit. A work permit (C43 exemption) issued under this program can be valid from 8 months up to a maximum of three years.

Current policy

In order to qualify for this program:

  • students must have studied full-time at a Canadian university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or at a private institution authorized by provincial/territorial statute to confer degrees;
  • studies must have taken place at a Canadian institution in Canada. Distance learning from outside or inside Canada does not qualify a student for this program. However, the occasional distance course within a non-distance program is allowable;
  • the student must have completed and passed a full-time course of study or program lasting at least eight months. Whether they received a “certificate”, “diploma” or “degree” is not an issue;
  • any application for this program must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification by the institution that they have met the requirements of the course of study or program; and
  • the student must still be in possession of a valid study permit at the time of application.

Specific eligibility criteria:

  • if the program of study is two years or more, the student may be eligible for a three-year work permit;
  • if the program of study is less than two years but at least eight months, the student may be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of their studies. The validity period of the work permit must not be longer than this period. For example, if the student graduated from an eight-month certificate program, they may only eligible for a work permit of eight months duration.

Revised program criteria

Students holding a one-year graduate degree, diploma or certificate from a participating institution in Canada after having obtained, within the prior two years, a certificate, a diploma or degree from a participating institution in Canada may qualify for a three-year work permit. This exception also applies to students who have left Canada temporarily between programs of study.

Note: Participating institutions include the following: Canadian university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade/technical school, or a private institution authorized by provincial/territorial statue to confer degrees (but only if the applicant received the credential in a program of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution).

Example 1: A student who obtained a one‑year MBA from a provincially or territorially accredited post-secondary institution in Canada after having obtained a one-year diploma, no more than two years before obtaining the MBA, would be allowed to cumulate both degrees and therefore would be eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit.

Example 2: A student who obtained a one-year diploma or certificate from a participating institution in Canada after having obtained a degree in Canada at the same or in a different participating institution within the previous two years would be allowed to cumulate both educational credentials and therefore would be eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit.

Example 3: A student attends a foreign post-secondary institution and transfers to a participating institution in Canada in order to complete their studies. Under this scenario, if the qualifying educational credential is issued at an institution outside of Canada, they would not qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. However, if they did receive their educational credential from a participating Canadian institution, they may be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit only for the length of time they studied in Canada.

Example 4: A student attends their first year at a private post-secondary educational institution in Canada not eligible under this program but then transfers to a participating post-secondary institution. Under this scenario they may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit program but only for the length of time they studied at the participating post-secondary institution.

Full‑time versus part‑time studies in the last session of study

If a student meets all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status, but is in their last session, they will still be considered to be eligible for this program. For example, at an institution, a student may be required to be enrolled in at least four classes to be considered to have full-time status. However, a student in the last session of a program of study needs to take only two additional classes in order to receive a Canadian educational credential from that institution. That student will still be eligible to apply for a work permit under this program.

Application for a temporary resident visa (TRV) from holders of post‑graduation work permits

It is common for students, who have completed their studies and are holders of post-graduation work permits, to wish to return to their home countries for a visit prior to seeking or starting employment in Canada. These students may need to apply for a TRV to enable a return to Canada. Consideration should be given to issuance of a long-term, multiple-entry TRV that would cover the validity period of the post-graduation work permit plus a 90-day bridging period. The student has already demonstrated bona fides, through successful studies in Canada and receipt of the post-graduation work permit. Whether the student has obtained a job offer or started a job search for the post-graduation work period should not be a sole determining factor for issuance of the TRV.

Date Modified: