I had a consultation with an International Student who just completed his program from a Designated Learning Institution in Edmonton. His question was regarding the eligibility of work experience obtained after completing his program. He has a valid study permit, finished his studies in June and received his letter confirming completion of a program from the institution in August. He applied for a Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in August. He wanted to know if he can work full-time or part-time from June to August before he applied for his PGWP and if this work experience is eligible for the Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class?
To the first question: Full-time or part-time?
The student can only work part-time from the time he has completed the program to the time he receives the letter confirming completion of the program.
As per Section s.186 (v) of the regulation which states as follows:
[A foreign national can work without a work permit]
(v) if they are the holder of a study permit and
(i) they are a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,
(ii) the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and
(iii) although they are permitted to engage in full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions, they work no more than 20 hours per week during a regular academic session
The language of the regulation doesn’t make it clear on exactly when the work authorization terminates. However, the guideline Study permits: Off-campus work published by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides us with some guidance:
Off-campus work and completion of a program of studies
Students who have not applied for a subsequent study or work permit or a program of study
Students may work off campus on a part-time basis if the following applies:
• they meet the eligibility criteria to work off campus [R186(v)]
• they have completed the final academic requirements for their program of study but have not yet received written confirmation of program completion from their institution (for instance, a transcript, an official letter or an email)
• they have not applied for a work permit (for instance, a post-graduation work permit or a work permit with a valid Labour Market Impact Assessment) or a study permit extension or enrolled in a subsequent program of study
They may work until the first date they receive written confirmation of program completion from their educational institution (for instance, an email, a letter, a transcript or a diploma), provided their study permit remains valid during this period. If the study permit becomes invalid [as per R222] before the student receives the notification of program completion from their institution, the student must cease working the day the study permit becomes invalid.
Once a student receives written confirmation of program completion from their institution, they are no longer authorized to continue to work in Canada, as they no longer meet the eligibility criteria in paragraph R186(v). They should apply to change their status (for instance, to visitor status) or leave Canada before their study permit becomes invalid as per section R222.
Given that the student only received the letter in August, then he would have been able to work part-time until that time. However, he would’ve been able to work full-time once he submitted his application for a PGWP. This is because of s. 186(w) of the regulations, which states:
[A foreign national can work without a work permit]
(w) if they are or were the holder of a study permit who has completed their program of study and
(i) they met the requirements set out in paragraph (v), and
(ii) they applied for a work permit before the expiry of that study permit and a decision has not yet been made in respect of their application.
As per Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s website:
You can work full-time while waiting for a decision on your post-graduation work permit application if, at the time you submitted your application, you:
• had a valid study permit,
• had completed your program of study,
• were eligible to work off-campus without a permit, and
• did not work off-campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.
Second question: Is the work experience eligible for the Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class?
NO. Full-time work experience obtained by students while they are engaged in full-time studies is not eligible for CEC because of the following:
• s. 87.1(3)(a) of the Regulations, which states:
(a) any period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study shall not be included in calculating a period of work experience [for CEC]
• Section 15 of the Ministerial Instructions respecting the Express Entry system, which states:
(7) […] (a) a period of employment during which the foreign national was engaged in full-time study is not to be included in calculating a period of work experience [for CEC]
• IRCC’s Program Delivery Instructions, “Canadian Experience Class selection criteria – Qualifying work experience”, which state:
Any period of employment when the applicant was engaged in full-time study will not be included in calculating the period of qualifying work experience (e.g., work experience gained through co-op work permits, off-campus work permits while a full-time student and on-campus work permits).
If you have questions regarding the above article you may contact Marjorie at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Immigration Refugee and Protection Act and Immigration Refugee Protection Regulations.
A word of caution: You should not act or rely on the information provided in this column. It is not legal advice. To ensure your interests are protected, retain or formally seek advice from an immigration lawyer or a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant in good standing of ICCRC. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the lawyers or immigration consultants.