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What are my options after my PGWP expires?

Updated: May 15

You have seven (7) options to choose from for you to stay longer in Canada after your Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) expires.

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What are my options after my PGWP expires?

If your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is nearing its expiration, it's crucial to plan your next steps wisely to maintain your status in Canada and continue pursuing your career or immigration goals. Here are some options you might consider after your PGWP expires:

Options After PGWP Expires

1. Apply for Permanent Residency (PR)

Many individuals use the experience gained during their PGWP period to apply for permanent residency in Canada. The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) within the Express Entry system is a popular pathway for those with Canadian work experience. Additionally, Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) might offer pathways to PR based on local labor market needs.

2. Obtain a Different Work Permit

If you're not yet eligible for PR or are waiting for your application to be processed, you might explore other work permit options such as:

LMIA-based Work Permits

Your employer can apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to hire you as a temporary worker. This process demonstrates that there is a need for a foreign worker to fill the job and that no Canadian worker is available.

International Mobility Program

Certain positions may be exempt from the LMIA requirement under the International Mobility Program, including intra-company transferees and workers under international agreements like the USMCA (for U.S. and Mexican citizens).

3. Study Further

Enrolling in further education could be an opportunity to enhance your qualifications and extend your stay in Canada. You can apply for a study permit to undertake another program. As of current rules, you are only eligible for one PGWP in your lifetime so you may not be able to apply for a new PGWP. However, you may improve your qualifications for PR applications.

Continuing your post-graduate study in Canada guarantees to give you more time to stay in Canada and might open doors for job opportunities, expand your network, and add points to your next immigration application.

While studying for your next post-graduate study, you may also work part-time inside or outside the campus, which allows you to gain more experience and support yourself financially. 

4. Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP)

If you've applied for permanent residency and your application is in process, you might be eligible for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP). This permit allows you to keep working while you await the decision on your PR application.

5. Visitor Status

Switching to visitor status is another option if you wish to stay in Canada while deciding on your next steps or waiting to become eligible for another work or study permit. This doesn’t allow you to work in Canada but can be a temporary solution to maintain legal status.

6. Explore Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Each province has its own set of immigration programs targeting specific groups like skilled workers, graduates, and entrepreneurs. If you have a connection to a particular province (through work, study, or family), check if you’re eligible for any PNP streams.

7. Spousal/Common-Law Partner Open Work Permit

If you have a spouse or common-law partner who is a skilled worker or student in Canada, you might be eligible for a spousal or common-law partner open work permit based on their status, allowing you to work for any employer in Canada.

Considerations and Planning

Timeliness: Act well before your current permit expires to avoid losing your status.

Eligibility: Carefully review the eligibility requirements for each option to determine the best path forward.

Documentation: Keep your documents up-to-date, including passports, Canadian job offers, and educational credentials.

Taking proactive steps before your PGWP expires is key to maintaining your status in Canada and pursuing your longer-term goals, whether they involve further work, study, or permanent residency.

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