Canada Eyes Major Post-Graduate Work Permit Reforms: Key Changes Explained

The Canadian government is in discussions to reform the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program, aligning it with labor market needs. Proposed changes may limit PGWP eligibility to graduates in shortage occupations.

The Canadian federal government is currently in discussions with provincial authorities about significant reforms to the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program, potentially affecting many international students, particularly those from India.

What is the Post-Graduate Work Permit?

The PGWP is a popular program that allows international graduates from Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to gain work experience in Canada after their studies.

Currently, the program is open to all graduates, with the duration of the permit depending on the length of the study program (from 8 months to 3 years). However, the Canadian government is looking to make the program more targeted towards filling in-demand jobs.

Reasons for the Potential Changes

  • Labor Market Focus: The aim is to ensure graduates entering the workforce have the skills needed for jobs in high demand.
  • Increased Program Use: The PGWP program saw a significant increase in participants (214% from 2018 to 2023). Streamlining the program could help manage this growth.

Also Read: Canada Study Permit: Attestation Letters, Caps, and PGWP Changes for 2024


Potential Program Modifications

The consultations with provinces are exploring various possibilities, including:

1. Eligibility Based on Occupations

Current: PGWP is available to all international graduates from Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in Canada, regardless of field.

Proposed: PGWPs may be restricted to graduates in fields with recognized labour shortages. This aligns the program with Canada’s economic needs, potentially limiting eligible programs to high-demand sectors like technology, healthcare, and engineering.

Impact: Students might need to choose study programs more strategically to qualify for the PGWP.


2. Job Offer Requirement

Current Situation: Currently, international graduates can obtain a PGWP without needing a job offer, and they can remain in Canada for up to three years to gain work experience related to their studies.

Proposed Change: Graduates might need to have a job offer in a shortage occupation to extend their PGWP beyond the initial year. This would mean that after the first year of the PGWP, students must secure employment in a field where there is a labour shortage to extend their work permits.

Impact: This requirement would encourage graduates to actively seek employment in high-demand sectors and may increase the urgency for students to secure relevant job offers soon after graduation.

3. Language & Provincial Support

Current Situation: PGWP eligibility and extensions are currently not dependent on additional criteria such as language proficiency or provincial support.


Proposed Change: Future extensions of the PGWP could include additional criteria such as demonstrating language proficiency in either of Canada’s official languages (English or French) or having specific provincial support.

Impact: These additional criteria could make it more challenging for graduates to extend their PGWP, but would also ensure that only those who are best prepared to integrate into the Canadian workforce and meet local needs can remain and work.

4. Implementation Timeline

Current Situation: Any student graduating from a DLI can apply for the PGWP under the current guidelines.

Proposed Change: The changes could be implemented in two possible ways: either affecting only new students enrolling from the time the changes are made or applying retroactively to all graduates.


Impact: If applied to new students only, current graduates and those nearing completion might not be affected, providing them with a transition period.

Must Read: 5 Ways for International Students to Stay in Canada After Graduation

Impact on Prospective Students

These changes could significantly impact students who pursue programs not aligned with labour market needs. To improve their chances of obtaining a visa and PGWP under the new system, experts advise:

  • Focus on Skill-Based Programs: Choose programs with high job demand in Canada, such as sciences, IT, healthcare, engineering, and business specialities.
  • Research Job Market Trends: Stay updated on thriving industries and in-demand skills.

Tips for Prospective Applicants

  • Course Selection is Key: Carefully consider your program choice and align it with job market needs.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date on potential immigration policy changes through official government websites.


While the student visa success rate remains high, these potential PGWP changes highlight the importance of strategic course selection for international students aiming to study and work in Canada. Choosing a program aligned with labour market needs can significantly improve your chances of obtaining a PGWP and eventually securing Permanent Residency (PR).


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Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Editorial Team: A dynamic group of experienced authors dedicated to delivering the latest in travel news and insights. Explore the world through their collective expertise.

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