Written by Angrez Angurana, RCIC

Applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada is a crucial step for international students aspiring to gain work experience in Canada, and also significant for those aiming Permanent Residency through Express Entry with Canadian Experience. Preparing and submitting this application involves a detailed and careful process, and applicants often encounter several common mistakes.

Here are some key mistakes and errors to avoid:

1. Incomplete Applications: The Pitfall of Omission

Failing to provide all required documents or not filling out the application forms completely and accurately can lead to delays or rejection. Most importantly, not disclosing any criminal issues that lead to inadmissibility, can result in refusal of the PGWP due to misrepresentation, potentially barring entry to Canada for 5 years. If you have medical issues that might affect your eligibility, not addressing these in your application can lead to problems.

2. Incorrect Program of Study Information

Applicants must ensure that their program of study is eligible for a PGWP. Not all programs qualify, so it’s crucial to verify this beforehand.

3. Status Maintenance: Timing is Key

If your study permit expires before you apply for a PGWP, you need to either leave Canada or change your status (e.g., to a visitor or extend study permit if applicable) to stay legally in the country while your application is processed.

4. The Timing and Deadline Dilemma

Applying too early or too late can be problematic. You must apply within 180 days of receiving confirmation (like a transcript and official completion letter) from your educational institution that you have completed your program’s requirements.

Remember, while you can apply for a PGWP within 180 days of receiving confirmation of graduation, it’s worth noting that a study permit is only valid for 90 days after receiving your final grades, or until the permit’s expiry date, whichever comes first. So strongly recommend applying within 90 days.

5. Incorrect Personal Information

Mistakes in personal details like name, date of birth, or passport number can lead to significant issues with your application or you may get work permit with inaccurate information.

6. Failing to Explain Gaps in Studies

Applicants often fail to properly address interruptions or gaps in their studies, such as leaves of absence, part-time semesters, transferring schools or programs, or taking longer than expected to complete the program. These should be thoroughly explained in the PGWP application.

7. Not providing necessary documents

Failure to provide proof of program completion – such as a completion letter, graduation confirmation, transcripts – is a common oversight. Ensure that you submit these essential documents, along with any required medical exam proof, for example if you intend to work in health sectors.

8. Applying on an Expired Permit

Some students’ study permits expire before they apply for a PGWP, and they assume that they have 180 days to apply for a PGWP. However, it’s important to remember that you only have 90 days to restore your status from the date of status expiry. Consequently, they miss or may not include all applicable fees, such as work permit processing fees, work permit holder fees, and restoration fees for their study permits. This can also lead to refusals, and in some cases, students may not be able to reapply.

9. Not responding to IRCC request or PFL Letter

Post-application, if IRCC requests additional information or documentation, failing to respond can lead to refusal. Always keep an eye on communication from IRCC and respond within the given timeframe.

Conclusion: The Significance of Accuracy and Thoroughness

The PGWP is not just a permit; it’s a gateway to your future in Canada. Given its one-time opportunity nature and tight deadlines, accuracy and thoroughness in your application are vital.

Many students who apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) themselves end up facing refusal due to mistakes in their application. Such errors can lead to losing their legal status in Canada, disrupting employment continuity, and in some cases, rendering them ineligible to reapply for the PGWP. Furthermore, reapplying after a refusal often entails a lengthy process of restoring one’s status, incurring additional fees in the process.

As a student, you have already spent thousands of dollars in your education and student journey in Canada. At this crucial stage of applying for your PGWP, it is essential not to compromise your application in an attempt to save a small amount of money. This mistake could cost you your valuable work permit.

For those students who are not well-versed in the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) guidelines, seeking consultation or representation from an authorized representative is advisable and worthful. Alternatively, you can familiarize yourself with the IRCC guidelines by thoroughly reading the available resources or contacting them for clarification. This step is crucial in safeguarding your investment and ensuring the successful acquisition of your PGWP.

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