How to Address a Post Graduate Work Permit Refusals

Understanding the complexities of the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) process can be daunting for many international students in Canada. This permit grants students who have completed a program at an eligible Canadian institution the opportunity to gain essential work experience in Canada. Unfortunately, some students find their applications rejected, creating uncertainty about their career path in the country. This article offers insights into the Post Graduate Work Permit, its eligibility requirements, and strategic approaches to handling refusal. We explore who can apply, how to confront a refusal, and the requisite criteria for a successful application.

What is a PGWP?

A Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international students who have completed a program of study at an eligible Canadian institution to work in Canada. Unlike most work permits, the PGWP is not tied to a specific employer and does not require a Canadian job offer at the time of application. The work permit’s duration is equal to the length of the study program completed, up to a maximum of three years. The PGWP is an essential component of Canada’s immigration framework, designed to attract and retain international students. The primary purpose of this program is to provide an avenue for international students to gain practical work experience in Canada following graduation, which could subsequently open doors for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or other provincial nominee programs.

Who qualifies for a PGWP?

The PGWP is available to international students who have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months at an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada. Applicants should have maintained full-time student status in Canada during the academic program they have completed. Exceptions apply to the final semester, which can be part-time, or if the program is a prerequisite to a more advanced course of study. Additionally, students must apply for a PGWP within 180 days of receiving written confirmation (like a transcript or an official letter) from their institution indicating that they have met the requirements for completing their academic program. It’s also noteworthy that the duration of the PGWP corresponds to the length of the academic program completed.

How to address a PGWP refusal?

Handling a PGWP refusal involves addressing the root causes of the denial. Understanding these common reasons for refusal and appropriate measures to address them can significantly improve your chances in subsequent applications.

1.Insufficient Supporting Documents

One of the common reasons for PGWP refusal is the lack of adequate supporting documents, such as proof of program completion or student status. To address this, you should review your initial application and ensure any missing or incomplete documents are correctly submitted in your reconsideration application. For instance, ensure your transcript or official letter from your institution clearly states you’ve met all requirements for program completion.

2. Ineligibility of the Study Program

Your PGWP application can be refused if the study program you completed doesn’t qualify. In response, verify your program’s eligibility, making sure it meets the criteria such as being at least eight months long and undertaken at an approved institution. If a misunderstanding occurred, provide clarification in your reconsideration application.

3. Failure to Apply within the Allowed Period

Applications can be refused if they’re submitted outside the 180-day window following receipt of final marks or program completion confirmation. If time has elapsed, you may need to consider changing your status to a visitor or student to maintain legal status in Canada, and subsequently, explore other immigration options.

4. Unauthorized Work

Unauthorized work, defined as working over the allowed 20 hours per week for international students, can result in a PGWP refusal. If you faced this issue, you need to explain the circumstances leading to the violation in your reconsideration application. Show your understanding and commitment to adhering to the work permit rules in the future, ensuring transparency and honesty in your explanations.

5. Study Gap

A study gap or inactive enrollment period can negatively impact your PGWP application. If a study gap led to your application’s refusal, document the reasons for the gap in your reconsideration application. Whether the gap was due to health, personal issues, or institutional administrative errors, supporting documentation like medical records or school letters can effectively address concerns regarding the continuity of your studies.

PGWP requirements and Eligibility

To qualify for a PGWP, you must have completed a full-time program of at least eight months at an eligible Canadian institution. Part-time students are not eligible, nor are students who have previously been issued a PGWP. Furthermore, the applicant must have a valid status in Canada and apply within 180 days of receiving confirmation of the completion of their academic program. You are also required to have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study completed, except for the final academic session.


To conclude, the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) process may seem challenging, but with knowledge of its requirements and procedures, the process becomes manageable. In case of a PGWP refusal, understand that options still exist. Whether the refusal was due to unauthorized work, study gaps, insufficient documents, or program ineligibility, a targeted reconsideration application can address these issues effectively. Given the complexities of the immigration process, it can be helpful to seek expert guidance. If you require assistance applying for your PGWP or are facing a refusal due any reasons at all, feel free to reach out to our team of seasoned professionals where you will be paired up with one of our experts who will walk and guide your through the process by offering advice tailored for your unique situation.

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