PGWP is not an Automatic Option—Know the PGWP Exclusions to Avoid Regrets Later

Why is Canada the most popular foreign study destination in the world? Some countries have very good educational institutions while others have lots of opportunities for skilled workers. But what makes Canada unique is the combination of quality education, good opportunities, and the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Advantages of the PGWP

  • LMIA-exempt work permit, which employers can avoid LMIA formalities.
  • Open work permit, which means the graduate can switch jobs with minimal hassles.
  • Valid for a period equal to the period of study in Canada, which means you and your employer know for how long you can work in Canada.
  • PGWP work experience counts when assessing your eligibility for Canadian permanent residence.

Employers too will prefer PGWP holders over other TFWP applicants because there are no LMIA formalities. Further, a student who has lived and studied in Canada will be more familiar with the Canadian way of life and work as compared to somebody entering Canada for the first time.

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Don’t Ignore PGWP Exclusions

But all this works in your favor only if you are eligible for the PGWP. Remember, simply studying in Canada does not make you automatically eligible for a work permit after graduation.

You won’t be eligible for the PGWP if any of these exclusions apply to you.

Graduating from a non- Designated Learning Institution or

Graduating from a program not eligible for the PGWP

Only DLIs can admit foreign students in Canada. So, joining a non-DLI institution won’t make you eligible for the PGWP.

Further, not all DLIs offer PGWP-eligible programs. So, simply choosing any DLI won’t be enough. You need to check and confirm that the program for which you are seeking admission will make you eligible for the PGWP.

Duration of course is less than eight months

If the duration of the academic, vocational or professional training program is of less than eight months, then you won’t qualify for the PGWP.

You did not maintain full-time student status in Canada

To qualify for the PGWP, you must have maintained full-time student status during all academic sessions of the program. Taking leave is fine provided you do it with the authorization and permission of the DLI. Further, maintaining part-time status in your final session is permissible.

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Except for these two reasons, not having full-time status as a student will make you ineligible for the PGWP.

No official proof of completion of program of study

Being in Canada through the duration of the study program won’t automatically make you eligible. The PGWP is available only to those who have completed the program of study and have official proof of the same.

Your study was funded by specific agencies or scholarships

Receiving funding from specific agencies or participating in specific exchange programs or obtaining specific scholarships can make you ineligible for the PGWP.

These include

  • Funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC),
  • Participation in Government of Canada Awards Program of the GAC
  • Studying under Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile
  • Participation in Canada–China Scholars’ Exchange Program or Organization of American States Fellowships Program.

Majority credits earned through distance learning

This is not applicable during the Covid pandemic but when this exclusion is likely to come back into force when normalcy returns. The PGWP is not available to those studying in Canada through distance learning programs.

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You need to be present in Canada and earn majority of credits through physical classroom teaching to qualify for the PGWP.

Graduating from a non-Canadian institution located in Canada

Simply studying in Canada won’t make you eligible for the PGWP. The duration of the course is irrelevant here because the PGWP is available only to those graduating from a Canadian DLI offering eligible courses.

Staying in Canada without valid status

This is a golden rule that applies to every person who wants to work, study, or settle in Canada. You should have never stayed in Canada without legal status. If your study permit is about to expire and your PGWP application is not filed, then it’s better to return to your country and then apply instead of staying illegally in Canada.

As you can see, most of these exclusions are easy to avoid with a combination of good research and expert advice of an experienced immigration professional. PGWP exclusions are important because you don’t want to end up in a situation where you could have been but are not eligible for this open and LMIA-exempt work permit after getting your Canadian degree.

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