The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) allows international graduates to work anywhere in Canada for up to three years.
Unfortunately, a PGWP can only be extended under certain circumstances. However, some options for high-skilled workers allow them to maintain temporary or even permanent residence in Canada.
Here are some options for PGWP holders to remain in Canada after their permit expires:
1. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
There are many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) offered to international graduates in Canada who want to settle in their province.
Canada continues to hold Express Entry draws for PNP recipients despite the pandemic. A variety of enhanced programs operate using the Express Entry system, and nominating a candidate through any of these will give them 600 points toward their CRS ranking.
With Express Entry, a PGWP holder could benefit from expedited processing time. This could allow PGWP holders to receive permanent residence status as soon as 6-months after submitting their application.
The PNP’s most popular option is the “base” program. For potential applicants that do not have work experience suited to Express Entry, provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Nova Scotia offer “base” programs for professionals in skill types C and D.
2. Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
The Atlantic Immigration Program is a Canadian program that helps certain recent graduates from an Atlantic post-secondary institute become permanent residents. This may allow PGWP holders to remain in Canada before their permit expires.
To be eligible for our program, your degree must have been completed in at least 2 years. The degree must also come with a job offer in any of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador. The position can be skill type A, B, C, or O.
One of the benefits of this program is that while most international graduates have to meet a minimum work experience requirement, PGWP holders don’t. This allows PGWP holders to apply even before they’ve started working. The PGWP may be beneficial for PGWP holders who haven’t gained enough work experience by their permit’s expiry date.
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot program is set to end on December 31, 2021. It will be replaced with the permanent program on March 6, 2022.
3. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)
The pilot program is looking for candidates holding a master’s degree or at least two years of post-secondary education, and who have been in the town for a minimum amount of time.
Every rural community has different requirements for those who want to enter its program.
4. Work Permit
Most work permits require employers to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) in order to hire foreign workers.
There are other work permit options that do not require an LMIA. Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) allows Canadian employers to hire temporary foreign workers without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). To apply for one of these LMIA-exempt permits, your work must have broader economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages for Canada, and reciprocal benefits enjoyed by Canadians and permanent residents.
If you are eligible to apply for permanent residency before your PGWP expires, you may also be eligible to apply for a bridging open work permit. This permit will allow you to work while waiting for the finalization of your permanent residency application.
5. Enroll in a new post-secondary program
Enrolling in a new post-secondary program could allow you to stay in Canada and work up to 20 hours per week. If you’re eligible for Express Entry but are waiting on your Invitation to Apply (ITA), this may be a way for you to stay in the country while waiting for your ITA.
If you don’t have a valid work permit, you can’t work in Canada. To avoid this, you must maintain your status and have valid documentation. If your situation changes in the future, talk to us about your employment opportunities.