Canada grants international Masters students 3-year post graduate work permit 


International students studying for a master’s program less than two years in length are now eligible for a three-year post-graduation work permit (PGWP). 

Previously, the duration of a granted PGWP was linked to the duration of the study program. However, acknowledging the potential of master’s students to excel in Canada’s job market, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has opted to broaden the eligibility criteria for these students to receive extended work permits. 

Details of the eligibility 

Nairametrics learns that PGWPs issued to students enrolled in programs other than master’s level will still align with the program’s duration, capped at three years. 

Additionally, students in programs at PGWP-eligible designated learning institutions (DLIs), which are at least two years long, qualify for an extended three-year PGWP. 

In the coming weeks, IRCC will also revise regulations regarding spousal work permits for international students at the undergraduate level.

Consequently, only spouses of students at the master’s and doctoral levels will be eligible for a spousal work permit.

However, this adjustment will not affect spousal open work permits for the spouses or conjugal partners of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. 

What are the PGWP eligibility criteria? 

For international students to qualify for a PGWP, they must meet the following criteria: 

  • Completion of studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a designated learning institution (DLI) eligible for PGWP issuance. 
  • Enrollment in a program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate. 
  • Maintenance of full-time student status in Canada throughout each academic session of the completed program or programs of study, as indicated on the PGWP application (with certain exceptions permitted). 
  • Provision of a transcript and an official letter from an eligible DLI confirming fulfilment of program requirements, both of which must be included in the PGWP application. 
  • Have graduated from a public post-secondary institution such as a: 
  • College; 
  • Trade or technical school; 
  • University; 
  • CEGEP (in Quebec); 
  • Private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec; 
  • Private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de specialization professionnelle (ASP); or 
  • Canadian private schools that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province. 

According to the new rule, from September 2024, some students will no longer be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

These are students attending a program that utilizes a curriculum licensing framework (where a private college has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college).