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Post-Graduation Work Permit

WHAT IS CONSIDERED "WORK"?

Work” is defined in the Immigration Canada Regulations as an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, OR that competes directly with activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.

NOTE: "work" includes "unpaid employment undertaken for the purpose of obtaining work experience, such as an internship or practicum normally done by a student." (see Immigration Canada website)



Students who have completed a McGill degree can obtain a Post Graduation Work Permit, with:

  • no restrictions on employment type

  • no job offer requirement

  • for a duration of up to 3 years (depending on length of program completed)

For complete details, visit the CIC website.

INSTRUCTIONS - HOW, WHERE, WHEN to APPLY

When can I apply for my PGWP?

You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from your institution (see below) indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program* (for example, a transcript or an official letter), while your Study Permit is still valid.

IMPORTANT!  The date of completion of your academic program is NOT the same as the date of convocation (your graduation ceremony).  Do NOT wait until convocation to apply, as convocation may occur more than 90 days after you have completed the requirements for your program.

PLEASE NOTE: You can only apply for a PGWP once in your lifetime.
If you plan to complete more than 1 degree/diploma/certificate in Canada, consider carefully when it would be most strategic to take advantage of this one-time opportunity.

How do I apply for my PGWP?


A) AT THE BORDER:

You can apply online or at the Canada/US border (Lacolle/Champlain, St. Armand/Phillipsburg, or Stanstead), or - if arriving by plane - with immigration services at the airport. 

To be eligible to apply at the border, you must be TRV-exempt*

*
Even if you were required to have a TRV/Entry Visa to enter Canada, you are TRV-exempt if you are traveling only to the US and back with a valid Study Permit or Work Permit - see IRPA Section 190 (3) (f))Please note, however, that not all agents are familiar with this exception and may require you to apply online once you're in Canada.

There is bus service to the Canada/US border from Montreal.  Please bring the following documents:

1.  Valid Passport
2.  Valid CAQ & Study Permit
3.  Letter from Minerva or Service Point confirming that you have completed all the requirements of your program of study
4.  Official Transcripts in a sealed envelope showing final grades/results (border officials occasionally request these).
4.  $155 + new $100 fee (as of Feb. 21, 2015) = $255

Optional documents: Immigration officers occasionally ask students whether they have enough money to pay for their living costs while looking for work.  If you're not already employed, it's a good idea to have a copy of your latest bank statement or any other document proving that you have sufficient funds to pay your rent while looking for work (there is no specific amount required by CIC).

B) ONLINE:

Apply through MyCIC.

As of February 5, 2016, Immigration Canada updated their instruction on applying for the PGWP. Students may now apply online either from within Canada, or from outside Canada. Please bear in mind that processing times will vary by country.
 

Where do I get a letter confirming that I've "completed all my program requirements"?


UNDERGRADS:

If you need this letter before Senate has met (to confirm graduation), you can request this letter online here, but first:

  1. Make sure your final grades have been posted on Minerva.
  2. If your graduation application is "pending", contact your Faculty to ask if they can confirm your graduation early (you may need to explain that this is necessary for immigration reasons).  Your Faculty advisor can either update your status on Minerva OR send an email to Service Point indicating that you have met all your requirements to graduate.
  3. Apply online for your PGWP letter from Service Point (note: it may take a few business days to process - if urgent, contact Service Point)

After Senate has met to confirm your graduation, you can generate a letter directly from Minerva that confirms that you have met all the requirements to graduate (Minerva: Student Menu > Student Records > Letters-Proof of Enrolment).


GRAD STUDENTS:
 

If you need this letter before Senate has met (to confirm graduation), you can request this letter online here, but only once your final thesis/project has been accepted by your department, or your final grades have been posted (for non-thesis students).

Your PGWP letter may take a few business days to process - if urgent, contact Service Point.

After Senate has met to confirm your graduation, you can generate a letter directly from Minerva that confirms that you have met all the requirements to graduate (Minerva: Student Menu > Student Records > Letters-Proof of Enrolment).
 

Can I work while I wait for my PGWP?


You can continue to work (on or off campus) provided that:

a) you hold or held a valid study permit* at the time you applied for your PGWP, and
b) have already applied for your PGWP from within Canada, and
c) remain in Canada after your Study Permit has expired

For full details, please visit Study Permits: Off-Campus Work and click on the subtitle “Conditions for Work” and then “Final Academic Session […]”

*If your Study Permit was issued June 1st, 2014 or later, it should have a remark at the bottom indicating that you are eligible to work off-campus.  Details of the June 1st changes can be viewed here.  If your Study Permit does not have this remark, you may need to apply for an amendment.
 

Can I travel while waiting to receive my PGWP?


The following answer is taken directly from the CIC website:

If you have applied to extend your work permit and plan on traveling outside Canada while your application is in process, you can leave Canada and come back. However, 1 of 3 things will happen when you return to Canada:

  1. You may be allowed to come back to Canada as a visitor, if Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has not yet decided to extend your work permit. If this is the case, you cannot work until you get your work permit extension. The officer at the port of entry may ask you to prove you have enough money to support yourself in Canada.
  2. You may be allowed to come back to Canada as a worker, if the officer at the port of entry finds out that CIC extended your work permit while you were away.
  3. You may be asked to apply for a new work permit at the port of entry.

Note: It is possible that you will not be able to enter Canada. The final decision is made at the border by the border services officer.

 

If my PGWP was granted for a shorter period than I was eligible for - because my passport is expiring - do I need to apply again and pay fees?


Yes; you have to apply for a new work permit and pay the fees again. You should include a letter of explanation stating that your PGWP expired prematurely because of the expiry date of your previous passport.
 

If my current TRV (Entry Visa) says "Student" and is still valid, do I need a new TRV if I am changing my status to "Worker"?


No; your TRV is valid regardless of whether it was issued to you as a student or worker. You can enter Canada with a TRV – “student” with a work permit.
 

If I apply for my Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) online from outside of Canada and my TRV or eTA has expired, will I automatically be issued a new TRV or eTA?


Yes; if you need a TRV or an eTA, you do not have to complete a separate application or pay additional fees. It will be issued by the officer at the same time as the documents you need for your entry to Canada as a worker (see CIC website).