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Canada PGWP Ineligibility Deadline Moved Forwards For Some International Students

Canada is moving up the previously announced date of Post-Graduation Work Permits  (PGWP) ineligibility from September 1 to May 15 for certain international students.

The change affects those hoping to start a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement this summer.

“This change will take effect on May 15, 2024, rather than the previously announced date of Sept. 1, 2024,” says Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

“This means that international students who begin this type of program on May 15, 2024 or later will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit when they graduate.”

The IRCC moved up the date of ineligibility for the PGWP for those international students on March 22.

“The change in post-graduation work permit criteria does not prevent a graduate of one of these programs from applying for a different type of work permit upon graduation,” notes the IRCC.

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“For occupations that face a labour shortage in Canada, a graduate could apply for a work permit supported by an employer’s approved Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), for example.”

Under curriculum licensing agreements, students physically attend a private college that has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college. Canadian immigration officials have come to consider that these programs have less oversight than public colleges and so have acted as a loophole with regards to post-graduation work permit eligibility.

Ottawa’s move to close that loophole will effectively limit the number of international students who will qualify for the PGWP.

But graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs are getting a break under the new criteria. They will soon be eligible to apply for a three-year work permit.

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“Under current criteria, the length of a post-graduation work permit is based solely on the length of an individual’s study program, hindering master’s graduates by limiting the amount of time they have to gain work experience and potentially transition to permanent residence.”

Spouses of international students in undergraduate and college programs, though, will soon no longer be eligible for open work permits.

“In the weeks ahead, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs,” states the IRCC.

Study Permits Allows International Students To Work On Campus While In Canada

International students are able to work on campus without a work permit while completing their studies if:

  • they have a valid study permit;
  • are full-time students at a post-secondary public school (college or university, or CEGEP in Quebec), or at a private college-level school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools and is at least 50 per cent funded by government grants, or at a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law, and;
  • have a Social Insurance Number.

International students are also usually able to work off-campus without a work permit  while completing their studies – when the current liftin of the 20-hour rule is not in effect – if:

  • they have a valid study permit;
  • are full-time students in a designated learning institution (a post-secondary program, or in Quebec at a vocational program at the secondary level as well);
  • their study program is academic, vocational or professional, it lasts at least six months and leads to a degree, diploma or certificate;
  • they are only working up to a maximum of 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full time during scheduled breaks (for example, winter and summer holidays or spring break).

Certain study programs include work requirements such as co-op or internships. In such cases, a work permit is required in order for the foreign student to be able to complete the work.

International students are able to travel and work in Canada for up to one year through the International Experience Canada if:

  • they are between the ages of 18 and 35 and;
  • their country of origin has an agreement with Canada.

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