Work permits are generally required for foreign workers who wish to enter Canada to work on a temporary basis and ease skill shortages in Canada .If you are currently residing in a country outside of Canada and wish to apply for a work permit, there are several mandatory documents that you must have ready for submission.

Post-Graduation Work Permits for International Students In Canada

International students who complete their post-secondary education in Canada may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, or PGWP, in order to gain Canadian work experience. In order to gain Canadian work experience, international students who complete their post-secondary education in Canada can apply for a post-graduate work permit or PGWP. The PGWP makes it possible for qualifying foreign students to work in Canada for up to three years after their studies.

As part of its attempts to attract international students and keep them as skilled workers, the Government of Canada offers the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. The program offers an open work permit that allows international graduates to work without the requirement of a Canadian job offer at the time of application for any Canadian employer in any industry.

International students can only receive one Post-Graduation Work Permit from IRCC.

PGWP Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for a post-graduate work permit, international students must have:

Graduated from:
  • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college
  • a trade or technical school
  • a university
  • CEGEP (in Quebec)
  • a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec;
  • a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or
  • Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.

Completed studies in Canada in an undergraduate, vocational or professional training programme at least eight months in a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) list.

The programs of study must result in a degree, diploma or certificate.

Held full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the completed course or study programmes and included as part of their application for post-graduate work permit; certain exceptions may be made for study leave and final academic session.

Received a transcript and an official letter from the qualifying DLI stating that the applicant met the requirements to complete their program of study;

  • The transcript and official letter must be included in a post-graduation work permit application.

PGWP deadline for applications: 180 days!

In 2019, after receiving a transcript and an official letter from the qualifying DLI stating that the conditions to complete the study program were met, the Government of Canada extended the time to apply for the post-graduation work permit from 90 to 180 days (six months).

Applicants must show when applying that they either hold a valid study permit, hold a study permit, or have been allowed to study in Canada without the need to obtain a study permit under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b).

PGWP Application: While program officers may request additional documents, two important documents required at the time of applying are a letter confirming the completion of the program of study and an official transcript by their DLI.

Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

If you are currently working in Canada on a work permit which will soon expire and you have submitted an application for permanent residence through the Express Entry system, you may be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). As the name suggests, a BOWP is issued to bridge the gap between the expiry of the work permit and the final decision on the permanent residence application.

After an electronic application for permanent residence (e-APR) is submitted through the Express Entry system, an Acknowledgement of Receipt letter is generated in the applicant’s MyCIC account. This letter provides a file number and confirms that the application has been received. Applicants who are eligible for a BOWP may apply immediately after receipt of this letter.

In order to be eligible for a BOWP, the e-APR must first pass a completeness check. This means that an Immigration Officer has done an initial assessment of the application and has verified that all necessary information and documentation has been received. If the completeness check is successful, the application for a BOWP will then be processed. If the e-APR is found to be incomplete, the application for permanent residence will be rejected and the application for a BOWP will be refused. Therefore, if you are relying on a BOWP to continue working in Canada, it is very important that your permanent residence application is completed accurately. If your application is rejected and your work permit has expired, you will be unable to submit another BOWP application with the new e-APR.

In addition to passing the completeness check, to be eligible for a BOWP an applicant must:
  • Be currently in Canada;
    • Have valid status on a work permit that is due to expire within the next four months;
  • Be the main applicant on the permanent residence application submitted;
    • Have submitted an application for an open work permit which includes the processing fee.

LMIA-Based Work Permit

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)/Service Canada and is required in order to apply for most Canadian work permits. Prior to submitting the application for an LMIA, the employer must advertise and Job Bank must be one source. Applications for an LMIA for a temporary position have an associated application fee of $1,000 for each temporary foreign worker position applied for. The positive LMIA is provided by Service Canada / ESDC to the employer, who will give it to the foreign worker to submit with his/her application for a work permit, which, if granted, is typically issued for one year. There are shorter processing times of 10 days available for eligible highest-demand, highest paid and shortest duration occupations, i.e. skilled trades within top 10% of pay bracket and for positions that are less than 120 days.

The Application for an LMIA has the same requirements as the LMIAs for Express Entry and Permanent Residence, hence receives the same scrutiny from ESDC.

The foreign workers must show that they meet all the requirements of the position (i.e. education, experience, skills) as listed in the LMIA application.