February 5, 2024

IRCC Announces Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility: A Deeper Dive

On January 22nd, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) unveiled significant updates to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. These changes aim to address a two-pronged challenge: stabilizing the rapidly growing international student population and ensuring program quality through stricter oversight. Let's delve into the specifics and explore their potential impact on prospective and current international students in Canada.

Addressing Growth and Oversight Concerns

Canada has witnessed a surge in international student admissions in recent years. While this influx brings diverse perspectives and economic benefits, it also raises concerns about program capacity and potential loopholes in eligibility. To address these issues, IRCC is implementing the following changes:

1. Curriculum Licensing Agreements Excluded

Effective September 2024, graduates from programs delivered under curriculum licensing agreements will no longer be eligible for PGWPs. These agreements involve private colleges offering the curriculum of a public institution. IRCC's rationale is that these programs have less oversight and can create eligibility loopholes. This change aims to ensure stricter adherence to program quality and capacity standards, potentially impacting students enrolled in such programs after September.

2. Masters Students Receive Extended Work Permit

In a positive development, IRCC is introducing a new policy allowing graduates of master's and other short-duration graduate programs to apply for a three-year PGWP. Currently, the PGWP duration mirrors the study program length, often limiting opportunities for masters students. This change recognizes the value of their qualifications and provides them with more time to gain valuable Canadian work experience, facilitating their path to permanent residency.

Understanding the Post-Graduation Work Permit

The PGWP is an open work permit enabling international graduates to work for any Canadian employer without a pre-arranged job offer. Its validity ranges up to three years, determined by the study program length. This permit offers crucial benefits:

  1. Gaining Canadian work experience: PGWP holders can build valuable skills and experience in the Canadian job market, enhancing their employability and permanent residency prospects. Employers often value Canadian work experience when evaluating candidates.
  2. Smoother transition to permanent residency: Canadian work experience gained through the PGWP significantly strengthens permanent residency applications. It demonstrates commitment to Canada, language skills, and adaptability to the job market, all crucial factors for successful immigration applications.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a PGWP, international students must meet the following criteria:

  1. Complete a program of at least eight months at a designated learning institution (DLI).
  2. Earn a degree, diploma, or certificate upon program completion.
  3. Maintain full-time student status throughout the program.
  4. Graduate from an eligible institution, such as public post-secondary institutions, specific private institutions in Quebec, or Canadian private schools authorized to grant degrees.

Impact on International Students

These changes will undoubtedly impact prospective and current international students in Canada. While the exclusion of curriculum licensing agreements might limit some options, the extended PGWP for masters students offers a positive development.

Prospective students:

  1. Carefully research the accreditation and eligibility of your chosen program, considering the new curriculum licensing agreement exclusion. Ensure the program is offered by a designated learning institution (DLI) and meets all PGWP eligibility requirements.
  2. Explore program length in relation to your desired PGWP duration. While the extended masters PGWP offers flexibility, shorter programs might result in a shorter PGWP, impacting your work experience timeframe.
  3. Consider alternative study options if your desired program falls under a curriculum licensing agreement after September 2024.

Current students:

  1. If enrolled in a program under a licensing agreement starting after September 2024, explore alternative options to ensure PGWP eligibility. Discuss your situation with advisors and explore transfer possibilities to eligible institutions.
  2. Master's students can benefit from the extended PGWP duration by strategically planning their work experience to strengthen their permanent residency applications. Focus on gaining relevant skills and experience aligned with your career aspirations and permanent residency goals.


The updated PGWP eligibility criteria reflect IRCC's efforts to manage international student growth while ensuring program quality and student success. By understanding these changes and their implications, prospective and current students can make informed decisions about their educational journeys in Canada. Remember, the PGWP remains a valuable tool for gaining valuable Canadian work experience and potentially transitioning to permanent residency. Stay informed, plan strategically, and leverage this opportunity to build a successful future in Canada.

Migrate to Canada with Confidence: Pelican Migration Consultants Can Guide You

The updated Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility criteria announced by IRCC may seem daunting, but navigating the new landscape doesn't have to be. Pelican Migration Consultants, your trusted immigration consultants in Dubai, can help you understand the changes and ensure a smooth transition to working in Canada after graduation.

Our team of experienced professionals specializes in Canadian immigration, providing comprehensive guidance throughout the entire process. We offer:

  1. Expert advice on PGWP eligibility: We'll assess your individual situation and explain how the new rules impact your plans.
  2. Streamlined application process: We'll handle all the paperwork and ensure your application meets all requirements.
  3. Support every step of the way: We'll answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide ongoing support until you receive your PGWP.

Don't let the new PGWP criteria hold you back from your dream of working in Canada. Contact Pelican Migration Consultants today and let our expertise guide you towards a successful future.