Please Note: Post-Graduation Work Permit regulations have changed since this essay was originally published. For the updated requirements please see the following page: Post-graduation Work Permits For International Students In Canada.
Foreign students completing post-secondary education in Canada are prime candidates for the Canadian workforce. Their education is recognized and they have already settled into Canadian society. In recent years, the federal and provincial governments have implemented initiatives to attract and retain international students; one of which is the right to work in Canada upon graduation.
As an international student, you can apply for a Canadian Post Graduation Work Permit that will allow you to employ the knowledge and skills acquired in Canada to the Canadian business environment. Whether you are seeking Permanent Residency in Canada or you are planning to eventually head home with some Canadian work experience under your belt, the Post Graduation Work Permit is an ideal opportunity to begin your career in Canada.
The Post Graduation Work Permit is granted to individuals who have been offered a Canadian job in their field of study. It is valid for a period of up to two years after your degree/diploma has been awarded.
To be eligible for a two year Post Graduation Work Permit, students must have completed their academic program of at least two years from an educational institution located outside of Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. The Canadian job offer must be from a company that is also outside these areas. Otherwise, the validity of your work permit will be for one year or less.
The Canada Post Graduation Work Permit is a one-shot deal – it can only be applied for once in a lifetime. Applicants are required to have graduated from a public or private post-secondary institution in Canada and have studied full-time for a minimum of eight months preceding the completion of the academic program. If you have spent more than one year studying in Canada, and you do not qualify for the two year work permit, your Post Graduation Work Permit will be valid for one year. If the length of your study period is less than one year, then the validity time of your work permit will be directly proportional – if you studied in Canada for ten months, you can work in Canada for ten months.
The Canadian job offer is key here. It must be made in writing, clearly indicating the nature of the work, and how it relates to your field of study.
You will need to submit your application for a Post Graduation Work Permit before your Canada Study Permit expires and within ninety days of receipt of written confirmation that you have satisfied the requirements for your program (the issuance of your final grades). If necessary, you can always request a one-time Bridge Extension on your Study Permit.
Your Post Graduation Work Permit application will need to be accompanied by written confirmation from your academic institution (e.g. letter, transcript) indicating that you have completed your program’s requirements, along with your Canadian job offer letter, and an official receipt to confirm that you have paid the appropriate government processing fee.