Written by: Angrez Angurana, RCIC
Can I work after completing my studies? – International students often ask this question!
The answer is that once the student has received their final transcripts or completion confirmation from the institution, it is time to stop working. However, a student can continue to work after graduation only if they:
- have already applied for a post-grad work permit (PGWP), or
- starting a new study program.
International students often desire to work after completing their study program in Canada, but not everyone is eligible for this; it depends on the student’s individual situation – so let us explore the scenarios mentioned below in more detail!
If you have already applied for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP):
In this scenario, the student is allowed to work full-time under IRPR R.186(w) if they have successfully finished their studies and applied for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The student must also meet all requirements mentioned below to work legally in Canada after graduation.
- The student can work off-campus during studies, and this condition can be viewed in their study permit document.
- The student holds a valid study permit at the time of PGWP application, which means they have submitted their application before the expiration of the study permit. Note that your study permit will expire on either the expiration date marked on the study permit or 90 days after the day you complete your studies, whichever comes first.
- The student’s PGWP application is in progress with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and is now waiting for a decision.
If your PGWP application is refused and you have no valid status in Canada, stop working immediately and apply for a restoration of your status if eligible or leave Canada as soon as possible. Students must be aware that unauthorized stay or working without authorization may be in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and could face serious consequences. Students who are unsure about their status or work eligibility should refer to IRCC’s official website, call their customer care, or consult with an authorized representative to ask for clarification.
If you’re starting a new study program:
Students who have recently graduated and are starting new programs within the next 150 days are allowed to work full-time. A student must meet all the requirements to be eligible for full-time employment:
- You were already able to work off-campus during your previous studies, and this condition can be viewed in your study permit document.
- You either hold a valid study permit or have applied for an extension before it expires.
- You have already received written notification, such as final grades, completion letter, graduation confirmation by email, or an official letter from your institution that you completed your study program.
- You have been accepted to take the next full-time study program at a designated learning institution, which means you have received a letter of acceptance for a post-secondary academic, vocational, or professional study program that leads to a diploma, certificate, or degree.
- You will start your new program within 150 calendar days of receiving the confirmation that you have completed your previous one.
You can work full-time as long as you meet all the conditions above. If you applied for a study permit extension, and your application is refused, and your recent study permit has also expired, you must cease working immediately. You can apply for restoration of your status if eligible or consult other options as applicable to the situation.
If you recently finished your study program and are waiting for your final grades:
Suppose a student has completed their studies but has not yet received their final marks or completion notification. In that case, you may be eligible to work part-time until you receive a notice from your school that your credential, graduation, completion of studies or final grades are awarded. In addition to this, you must also meet all the criteria cited below:
- You were eligible for off-campus work during your final semester.
- Either you hold a valid study permit or have applied for an extension before it expires.
As soon as you receive written confirmation from your institution that you have completed your study program, stop working immediately and find out other eligibility requirements to work full-time, such as applying for a PGWP or starting a new program.
Book a Consultation:
If you have more questions about your individual situation, you can book a consultation with us. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should only be considered as general information. Your situation may differ from the examples given, so if you have any questions about your specific circumstances then it would certainly make sense to seek professional counsel (authorized representative) or consult the IRCC website before acting on anything that might put you at risk of violating an immigration law or regulation!