More International Students are Using PGWPs to Obtain PR in Canada
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More International Students are Using PGWPs to Obtain Permanent Residency in Canada

Austin Campbell



More International Students

There are many foreign graduates from recognized Canadian DLIs who use Post-Graduation Work Permits to stay and work in Canada.

In fact, the total number of PGWP holders in Canada has increased every year, according to a survey of PGWP holders by yearly graduation cohort. The study found that 29% of graduates from the class of 2008 still had a PGWP after five years.

With the graduating class of 2009, that figure increased by an additional 5%, and it has since risen consistently. Five years after graduating, 52% of the class of 2013’s graduates have earned a PGWP. Statistics show a 528% increase in the overall number of PGWP holders between 2008 and 2016.

Why Do More International Students Seek PGWPs?

Importantly, Canada currently has approximately 807,000 international students with legitimate study visas studying there. Statistics Canada data indicate that there are two factors contributing to the PGWP’s increased popularity:

  • PGWPs give overseas graduates the opportunity to support themselves financially in Canada;
  • they are an important means of attaining permanent residency in this nation.
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PGWP Holders’ Positive Earnings (2008 and 2018)

The median average earnings for valid PGWP holders with positive T4 earnings for the 2018 tax year was $26,800. That amount was only $14,500 in 2008. In line with the increase in PGWP holders throughout time, there is now much more earning potential available to PGWP holders across Canada.

Rise of International Students to Secure Permanent Residency in Canada Through PGWP

Permit holders are increasingly able to convert to Canadian permanent residents (PRs) after completing their studies. This is only because of PGWP. After graduating from a Canadian DLI, PGWPs are the primary route for international students to get employment in Canada. For a maximum of three years, those who possess these open work permits are free to work for any Canadian employer of their choice.


Due to the fact that many avenues for becoming a permanent resident in this country explicitly favour applicants with Canadian work experience, the job experience obtained through a PGWP can therefore be quite advantageous for potential PRs. As a result, PGWPs may directly affect how successfully international students are able to obtain permanent resident status in Canada, which helps to explain why this work permit scheme has grown more and more well-liked over time. In fact, according to Statistics Canada’s data almost three-quarters of all PGWP holders became permanent residents within five years of having obtained their PGWP.

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