The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program is an immigration program that allows students who have graduated from a Canadian institution to work in Canada after their study programs have ended. This provides graduates with an opportunity to gain valuable Canadian employment experience, which can help them qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry Canadian Experience class.
In order to be eligible for a PGWP, the applicant must have graduated from an eligible Canadian designated learning institution (DLIs). Once obtained, the PGWP is usually valid for the same length as the student’s program of study, or for a maximum length of three years.
Often times, PGWP holders living and working in Canada wish to bring their spouse, who is residing overseas, to stay with them in Canada. PGWP holders who wish to bring their spouse to Canada can do so by applying for an Open Work Permit for their spouse. The Open Work Permit allows the spouse to come to Canada and work for any Canadian employer while the PGWP holder lives and works in Canada.
What are the requirements for applying for an Open Work Permit for my spouse?
1) Genuine marital relationship
A PGWP holder must demonstrate that a genuine marital relationship exists with the spouse who is applying for the Open Work Permit. Providing supporting documents, such as marriage certificate and other identification documents, can be helpful evidence demonstrating a genuine relationship.
2) Admissible to enter Canada
The spouse of a PGWP holder must not be inadmissible to Canada for reasons of criminal or medical inadmissibility.
3) PGWP holder requirement
In order for the spouse to apply for an Open Work Permit tied to the PGWP holder, the PGWP holder needs to be or will be employed in a high-skilled occupation (Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities [TEER] category 0, 1, 2 or 3 of the National Occupation Classification system) at the time the family member submits their application.
In addition, the PGWP holder must have at least 6 months left on their work permit after submitting the Open Work Permit application for the spouse.
4) Intention to return to home country
As a part of the application requirements, the spouse of a PGWP holder must demonstrate their intention to return to their home country once their Open Work Permit expires. Providing supporting documentation such as employment, home ownership, and other ties to their home country can be helpful in demonstrating this intention.