Post-Graduation Work Permit Program – temporary COVID-19 changes

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some International Students in Canada may not be able to submit complete requirements for their Study Permit or Post Graduation Work Permit applications. These temporary changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program are effective until further notice.

Many of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s application centres are still closed, or operating at very limited capacities.

As a result, IRCC has said that applications submitted without biometrics, medical examination results or original travel documents will NOT be refused.

IRCC will keep the application active, and will continue requesting for the required documents until applicants are able to submit them, or have provided proof that appropriate action has been taken.


IRCC is also temporarily allowing international students who are unable to submit a complete application for a PGWP because of COVID-19 related closures of their Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).

If international students apply for a PGWP while their study permit is still valid, IRCC will allow them to work full time until their application has been processed.

International students must submit a letter of explanation detailing why they were unable to submit the required documents, and then submit the documents online once they become available.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DLIs have been forced to suspend classes and close campuses. International students whose status changes from full-time to part-time will be allowed to apply for a PGWP.

International students who are eligible for a PGWP will be able to gain work experience that will count towards applications made under the Express Entry System or the different Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).


Canada is issuing an incredible number of Work Permits issued under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. From just 5,400 Work Permits in 2005, Canada gave out over 143,000 Work Permits under the PGWP in 2018.

The number of International Students in Canada has grown over the past few years, with over 572,000 Study Permits issued in 2018.

Statistics Canada attributes the increase in International Students to the availability of the PGWPP.

Since 2008, International Students no longer had to find a job that was related to their field of study.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the number of days International Students were allowed to apply for a Work Permit after completing their course, from 90 days to 180 days.

Former IRCC minister Ahmed Hussen took on of the important role International Students play in Canadian immigration, saying: “They have Canadian post-secondary education and, in many cases, Canadian work experience. They also speak one, if not both, of our official languages. All of which is a recipe for a newcomer’s success in Canada.”

Canada has become an attractive destination for International Students because of its competitive tuition fees as well as comparatively affordable living expenses.

International Students can also apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit while they are taking their courses.

In some cases, International Students can apply for Permanent Residency.

International Students are big business in Canada, contributing almost CAD22 billion to the country’s economy, supporting almost 170,000 jobs.

International Students have an easier time applying for Permanent Residency because of their language proficiency as well as the fact that by the end of their courses, already have both Canadian educational and work experience.

It also helps that International Students have already established personal and professional networks in Canada, which will help them enter the workforce so much faster.


The PGWPP gives eligible International Students the opportunity to apply for a Work Permit which allows them to stay in Canada after they complete their studies so that they can work for up to three years.

The length of the Work Permit depends on the length of the academic program completed by the International Student.

The Work Permit allows International Students to work in any job anywhere in Canada. International Students with a Work Permit issued under the PGWPP can change employers any time they want.

The PGWPP was established to attract more International Students to Canada, offering them opportunities to contribute to the country’s economy by finding work after the completion of their courses.


To be able to apply for a Work Permit under the PGWPP, an International Student must have completed a minimum 8 month program.

International Students must also meet other criteria, including:

Must be at least 18 years old,
Must have studied full-time and completed a course (minimum of 8 months),
Must have proof of completion of course (transcript, official letter or certificate),
Course must have been taken at an authorized public or private post-secondary school,
Must have submitted an application for a Work Permit under the PGWPP within 180 days from completing the course,
Must have a valid Study Permit for at least 180 days before applying for a Work Permit.


International Students who apply for Permanent Residency after working under the PGWPP have an easier time applying under the Express Entry System.

Eligible PGWPP applications for Permanent Residency made under Express Entry are expedited. If an International Student works for three years under the PGWPP, they will receive an additional 64 CRS points, with an additional 15-30 CRS points for completing their courses at an authorized post-secondary educational institution in Canada, for a total of an extra 94 CRS points.

Last year, more than 1/4 of successful Express Entry candidates who received Invitations to Apply (ITA) did so because they had earned the additional CRS points.

Canada has other paths to Permanent Residency for International Students, including the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) and the different Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).


Canada will continue to be a destination of choice for International Students all over the world, including from the Philippines.

Canada continues to make things easier for International Students to come to the country, with immigration programs such as the Student Direct Stream (SDS) expediting applications from International Students from countries like the Philippines.

Are you interested in exploring the possibilities of coming to Canada as an International Student? is NOT affiliated with the Government of Canada, the Philippine Government, or any Philippine recruitment agencies or Canadian immigration consultants or lawyers.

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