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Shabnam Akrami is the Managing Partner and Founder of Akrami & Associates.

New Rules to the Post Graduate Work Permit

New Rules to the Post Graduate Work Permit

What is a Post Graduate Work Permit?

A post graduate work permit is just the same as any other work permit. However, it is only given to students who have studied in Canada for at least 8 months. Through this program students are offered a chance to gain some work experience relating to their studies for up to 3 years. The post graduate work permit cannot be valid for longer than the students study period. Obtaining a post graduate work permit is extremely helpful because down the road the student may be eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class program.

Who is eligible?

In order to be eligible to apply for the post graduate work permit, you must have studied full-time in Canada and completed a program of study that lasted a minimum of eight months. The school that you have completed must be one of the following: public post-secondary institution (e.g. college, university, trades/technical school), a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as a public institution, a private or public post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP), or a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees. You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving a written confirmation (e.g. transcript) for your school stating that you have met the requirements for completing your program. You must have completed and passed your program and received a notification stating that you may obtain your certificate, diploma, or degree. Your study permit must be valid when applying for the work permit. You may be eligible to apply for a post graduate work permit if you have graduated from a vocational or professional training program at a private of public post secondary institution in Quebec, regulated by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport. In order to qualify on this basis students must be 18 years old or older, have completed a full-time program that lasted 900 hours or more, and provide a supporting letter from your institution outlining the duration of your studies and the program code. All other requirements are the same as the previous ones.

If your program is less than 8 months long, then you will not be eligible for a work permit. If your program is more than 8 months, but less than 2 years; you as the student will be eligible for a work permit that is no longer than the time of their studies. If your program is 2 or more years in length, then you are eligible for a work permit up to 3 years.

New Rules: Study Permit

As of February, 2014, there are new rules in regards to the post graduate work permit. These rules were established in order to make Canada a more attractive destination for foreign students. These new rules are supposed to improve services to students and still maintain Canada’s international reputation of high-quality education. In the past applicants were expected to prove that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit, but now they must be enrolled in and continue to pursue studies in Canada.

Previously students were able to receive study permits based on the fact that they are going to be studying at any educational institution in Canada. However, now students must show that they are going to be studying at a school that has been designated to receive international students in order to receive a study permit. In the past, in order to work part-time while studying, students had to apply for an off-campus work permit. Nevertheless, now students with study permits will automatically be authorized to work part-time during the academic season and full-time during the scheduled breaks (to be eligible the study permit holder must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated institution.).

In the past, any international student was able to apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement was/is an integral part of their course of study. Now, only international students who are studying at a secondary school or at a designated institution can apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral element of their program.

Previously, if you were here on a visitor visa, you could not apply for a study permit from within Canada. Now, if you are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated educational institution, or have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution, you will be able to apply for a study permit if you are in Canada on a visitor visa.

In the past, if you have finished your studies and your study permit is still valid, you may stay in Canada until that expires; however, now a study permit will become invalid 90 days after the completion of your studies unless you possess a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada. Previously, there weren't any clear rules regarding foreign nationals who were Registered Indians and thus were exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit. Now it is actually stated that this is true, they can study in Canada without a study permit because they have the right to enter Canada. Lastly, in the past students with study permits were not allowed to work after graduation while waiting on their post graduate work permit. Now, students waiting on their post graduate work permits are able to work full-time until they receive a decision. Another fun fact is that people who enrol in courses that last 6 months or less do not need a study permit, only a valid visitor visa.

One may ask how this applies to the new rules in the post graduate work permit. I believe these are some very important facts to know in regards to figuring out if you will be able to obtain a post graduate work permit.

Overall, we see that Canada is trying to build itself up economically. Therefore, Canada benefits from international students who decide to stay here. This is why the ultimate goal is to make their transition as smooth as possible. The post graduate work permit is an extremely helpful program. It offers students who come from abroad a chance to work and eventually live in Canada. This is a dream for many people and I believe that it not only helps you relocate to Canada, but it also helps you build yourself up in Canada as well.

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