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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 or university 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: Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s  Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) allows students who have graduated from an eligible BC post-secondary program to work for up to three years to obtain Canadian work experience. These students must apply for the PGWP within 90 days of graduating and have a valid study permit when they apply for their work permit. Applicants may even begin working full-time after submitting their PGWP application and while waiting for a decision, as long as they have a valid study permit, have completed their program of study, were eligible to work off-campus with a study permit and, did not work off-campus more than 20 hours per week during academic sessions. Permits are issued for varying terms, depending on the applicant’s educational program. The government will issue a work permit to a new graduate without the requirement of first having a job offer. This is good news for the new graduate and for the employer.  From the graduate’s perspective, he/she can apply for a PGWP 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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