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Do International Students Need a Work Permit?

Question: I am a Manager in a hotel and have had a couple of foreign students who have recently graduated from a BC college tell me that they can come and work for me. All I need to do is to offer them a job and they will get a work permit. I have been turning these students away because I am reluctant to offer a job to someone who doesn’t already have a work permit and I’m not in a position to sponsor them through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Any suggestions?

Answer: The federal government’s Post Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from an eligible BC public post secondary program to work for up to three years to obtain Canadian work experience (the actual duration of the work permit is tied to the length of their study in Canada). These students need to apply for a work permit within 90 days of graduating and have a valid study permit when they apply for their work permit. The government will issue a work permit to a new graduate without the requirement of having a job offer from an employer first. This is good news for the new graduate and for the employer.  From the graduate’s perspective, he/she can obtain a work permit and then go looking for a job. From your perspective the new graduate comes with the work permit already in hand and you do not need an LMIA to hire them.

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