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Master’s Degree Holders Qualify for a 3-Year Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada

3 year work permit for master degree holders in Canada

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Master’s Degree Holders Qualify for a 3-year Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada

Effective immediately, international students enrolled in master’s programs lasting less than two years are now eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

Previously, the duration of the PGWP was tied to the length of the study program. However, recognizing the potential of master’s students to contribute to Canada’s labor market, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has extended eligibility for longer work permits to these students.

PGWPs issued to students in programs other than at the master’s level will continue to align with the program length, up to a maximum of three years.

Furthermore, students attending designated learning institutions (DLIs) eligible for PGWP, with programs lasting at least two years, are also entitled to the extended three-year PGWP.

In the coming weeks, IRCC will revise spousal work permit regulations for international students at the undergraduate level. Consequently, only spouses of students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees will qualify for a spousal work permit. This change will not affect spousal open work permits for spouses or conjugal partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Eligibility Criteria for PGWP: To qualify for a PGWP, international students must:

  • Have completed studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at an eligible DLI.
  • Have pursued a program resulting in a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Maintained full-time student status in Canada throughout each academic session of the completed program(s), as evidenced in the PGWP application (with certain exceptions allowed).
  • Received an official transcript and letter from an eligible DLI confirming program completion (both required for the PGWP application).
  • Have graduated from a public post-secondary institution such as a college, trade or technical school, university, CEGEP (in Quebec), or private post-secondary school (in Quebec) adhering to the same regulations as public schools in Quebec. Private secondary or post-secondary schools in Quebec offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or more resulting in a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) are also eligible, along with Canadian private schools authorized to confer degrees under provincial law.
  • All institutions must be DLIs.

Please note: Beginning September 2024, students enrolled in programs utilizing a curriculum licensing framework (where a private college is licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college) will no longer qualify for PGWP eligibility.

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