Immigration Corner: I want to live and work in Canada
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a Jamaican and I'm graduating from a school in Ontario this year. I would like to stay in Canada to get some experience and hopefully get permanent residence in the long run. Can I apply for a work permit? Do I need a labour market report? Can I apply before I get my results? Can you tell me how long the work permit would be valid for? What do I need to apply? Can I start working before I get the work permit?
International students who have completed post-secondary studies in Canada may be granted a work permit to remain in Canada to obtain work experience, provided that they are eligible. You may apply under the Post Graduate Work Permit Programme (PGWPP). After you have worked for a number of years in Canada, you may be eligible to apply under the Express Entry system to become a permanent resident.
You do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) report in order to apply for a postgraduate work permit. The work permit will be granted based on the length of your programme, up to a maximum of three years. So if you graduated from a programme that lasted eight months, your work permit will be valid for no more than eight months. If you graduated from a three- or four-year degree programme you could receive a three-year work permit, if you are eligible.
In order to be eligible you would need to satisfy the following:
1. Be at least 18 years;
2. Undertake full-time study for not less than 900 hours or 8 months;
3. Successfully completed a programme of study from one of the designated learning institutions (DLI) or participating schools such as a public post-secondary institution, a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions;
4. Have a valid study permit at the time of the application;
5. Have a letter from your school confirming your successful completion of the programme, the duration of the programme and their DLI number;
6. Application must be made within 90 days of written confirmation of completion of your studies. You do not have to wait until you have the actual diploma in hand to apply, as long as you enclose a confirmation letter from the school with the application.
Some of the reasons that you would not be deemed eligible for a postgraduate work permit are if:
1. Your programme of study was less than eight months;
2. You were previously issued a postgraduate work permit on the completion of another programme of study in Canada;
3. Have a criminal record;
4. Your programme was funded by your country or an international organisation such as Government of Canada Awards Programme, CIDA, DFATD, OAS, an exchange programme;
5. You are bonded by your country or a company in your home country without being released.
Can you start working before you get the work permit? You can only work in Canada if you have a valid work permit. So if you have a valid off-campus work permit, you can start working while you are waiting for your postgraduate work permit. However, if you do not have a valid off-campus work permit, you must wait until you have the work permit.
You may consult with an immigration lawyer to assist you with your application. However, if you choose not to use a representative, you may download the application package from CIC website, pay the requisite fee, and submit the application with the supporting documents online or to the address as outlined in the application package. Be sure that you are using the current and up-to-date application forms, as your package will be returned, unprocessed.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in immigration, real estate, commercial, personal injury, family and administration of estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto, and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org subjectline: immigration, Call 613-695-8777/ 876-922-8899 Facebook: jamaicanlawyer