NEXT STEPS AFTER GRADUATION: INTERNATIONAL GRADUATE STUDENTS
Last updated: April 24, 2020
As an international graduate student who has applied for graduation in Spring 2020, please carefully review the detailed information below regarding the post-graduation work permit and other relevant information in preparation of your next steps after graduation.
Due to COVID-19, our office is closed for in-person advising services, but our advisors still remain available to support you remotely via LiveChat, phone or email. We wish you all the best with your future endeavours. Should you have any questions, please connect with an International Student Advisor for assistance.
1. APPLYING FOR A POST-GRADUATION WORK PERMIT
What is a post-graduation work permit?
Full-time international students may be eligible to apply for a post-graduation work permit upon completion of their studies in Canada. The post-graduation work permit is an open work permit of up to three years in length, and you don't need a job offer to apply. Click here to review the eligibility requirements to apply for a post-graduation work permit.
When should I apply for my post-graduation work permit?
The post-graduation work permit is once in a lifetime opportunity. You must apply within 180 days after completing your degree requirements. The calculation of this 180-day period begins from:
(A) the day your thesis grade is updated to 'CO' in goSFU (if your program includes a thesis), or
(B) April 29, 2020, the final grade deadline for Spring 2020 term (for non-thesis programs).
To apply for a post-graduation work permit within Canada, you should have valid temporary resident status in Canada (e.g. a valid study permit, valid visitor status, or implied status) at the time of your application.
You may apply for the post-graduation work permit within Canada while holding implied status, provided that you have applied to extend your study permit or change your status to visitor before your study permit expires or becomes invalid.
You also have the option to apply for the work permit from outside Canada.
** Keep in mind that your study permit will automatically expire 90 days after you have completed your program, or on the expiry date printed on your study permit, whichever comes first.**
If you would like to start working while you await processing of your post-graduation work permit application, you must apply before your study permit expires or becomes invalid and meet certain eligibility requirements specified in the application timeline linked above.
Click here to download the PGWP Timeline in a PDF format and customize your own application timeline.
My study permit will expire before I can submit the post-graduation work permit application. How should I proceed with my post-graudation work permit application?
If your study permit will expire or become invalid before you can submit your post-graduation work permit, you have several options on how to proceed with your post-graduation work permit application.
Option 1: Apply to extend your study permit within Canada, if eligible
If you are still within your final term, you may submit an application to extend your study permit within Canada for an additional 90 days (e.g. you may request your study permit to be extended to the end of July 2020) which is also known as “bridge extension”. If you apply to renew your study permit prior to its expiry date, you can continue to remain in Canada on implied status while waiting for a decision to be made on your application.
While holding implied status, you can submit your post-graduation work permit within Canada even though no decision has been made on your study permit extension application.
Option 2: Apply to change your status to visitor
To remain in Canada longer, you may also apply to change your status to visitor. To do so, you must submit an application for a visitor record before your study permit expires or becomes invalid.
You may continue to remain in Canada and submit your post-graduation work permit on implied status while your visitor record application is in process. However, you will not be eligible to work during the transition period to the post-graduation work permit. You must wait to receive your work permit first before you can start working.
Option 3: Apply for the post-graduation work permit outside Canada
You may also apply for your post-graduation work permit outside Canada. You are not required to have a valid study permit at the time you submit your work permit application overseas.
Please ensure that you have valid temporary resident status during your stay in Canada. If your temporary status will expire before you leave Canada, you must either apply to extend your study permit if eligible, or change your status to visitor before your study permit expires or becomes invalid.
For more information on how to submit a post-graduation work permit outside Canada, please follow the instructions here.
My study permit has already expired and I am on implied status now. Can I apply for the post-graduation work permit?
If you are on implied status (e.g. you have applied to extend your study permit prior to its expiry date), you can submit the post-graduation work permit application and may continue to remain in Canada while waiting for a decision to be made on your applications.
If you were eligible to work in your final term, you may continue to work on implied status up to 20 hours per week until you receive your credential completion letter. Once you have received your credential completion letter, you must stop working immediately.
How can I apply for my post-graduation work permit within Canada?
In most cases, you should apply online and in support of your application, you will need the following documents from SFU:
Review the links below on how to request the above documents and apply for your work permit online:
Click here for instructions on how to access your credential completion letter
With the exception of an approved leave or part-time studies in the final term, continuous full-time enrollment is a requirement you must meet to be eligible to apply for the post-graduation work permit. If you were not able to maintain continuous full-time enrollment in each Spring, Summer, and Fall term throughout your studies at SFU, it is strongly recommended that you include a letter of explanation with your application. Depending on the circumstances, supporting documents may also be submitted as evidence of reason/s for any gaps in your full-time enrollment.
Do I need to provide biometrics for my post-graduation work permit?
Valid biometrics are required for in-Canada applications including post-graduation work permit applications. If you have not already provided your biometrics in the past and are not exempt from the requirement, you will need to give your biometrics for your post-graduation work permit application.
Biometrics collection in Canada is done by appointment only at the designated Service Canada centres. To give your biometrics within Canada, it must be done in person after you submit your online application (which must be accompanied by an $85 biometrics fee) and receive a Biometrics Instruction Letter (BIL). Processing of your application will only begin after you pay for and give your biometrics.
If you gave biometrics in the past as part of an application to come to Canada (e.g. applying for a temporary resident visa or a study permit outside of Canada), they may still be valid. To check whether your biometrics are still valid and when they will expire, visit the Check Status Tool on the IRCC website.
Due to COVID-19, all in-Canada biometrics appointments are currently cancelled until further notice. You will be automatically given 90 days to complete your biometrics enrollment and you don't need to request a new BIL to book an appointment.
Can I work before applying for the post-graduation work permit?
If you were eligible to work in your final term, you may continue to work up to 20 hours per week until the first date you receive your credential completion letter. Your study permit must also remain valid during this period.
You must stop working when your credential completion letter is issued via goSFU. Keep in mind that you will not receive an automatic notification when the credential completion letter becomes available. You must request the letter online via goSFU.
Can I start working once I have applied for the post-graduation work permit?
After submitting your post-graduation work permit application, you may start working on a full-time basis only if you meet certain eligibility requirements set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you don’t meet those requirements, you must wait to receive your work permit first before starting or resuming work.
A few reminders about applying for a post-graduation work permit application:
Closely monitor any changes or possible extensions to the current travel restrictions and exemptions
Speak with your Graduate Program Assistant to find out when the credential completion letter will be available to be generated online
Check your passport expiry date as the post-graduation work permit will not be issued beyond the validity of your passport
All biometrics appointments at Service Canada have been cancelled until further notice. You have now 90 days to give your biometrics. Check here to find out when biometrics collection will resume again
Review and customize your own post-graduation work permit timeline
Make sure that your study permit is valid throughout the entire duration of your program of studies in Canada. Extend your study permit if needed, or apply for a visitor record if your study permit will expire or become invalid before you submit your post-graduation work permit application.
Review and check your work eligibility during the transition period to the post-graduation work permit
Click here for processing times for post-graduation work permit applications (due to COVID-19, the posted processing times are no longer accurate, however, IRCC is continuing to process applications as quickly as possible)
Connect with an International Student Advisor, Immigration Specialist remotely should you have any questions
2. IMPACTS OF COVID-19 AND TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
To help you navigate through this challenging time, visit our COVID-19 FAQ for additional information on what resources and supports are available at SFU and how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact your immigration and medical insurance process for international students.
How will COVID-19 impact my post-graduation work permit application?
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) released a resource online outlining how COVID-19 is impacting their operations including information about travel restrictions and immigration-related impacts. Please carefully review the information and closely monitor the site for future updates.
- Check here on how COVID-19 is affecting IRCC and its operations
While the eligibility and application submission requirements remain unchanged for post-graduation work permits, it is important to keep in mind how COVID-19 may impact the processing of your post-graduation work permit in Canada:
- Delayed processing times:
Due to service disruptions caused by COVID-19, IRCC’s current processing times are no longer accurate and it is expected that processing times will be further delayed.
However, you may continue to remain in Canada with an expired study permit while waiting for your post-graduation work permit to be processed, as long as you submit your post-graduation work permit before your study permit expires.
- Temporary suspension on biometrics enrollment:
All in-Canada biometrics collection at Service Canada is suspended until further notice. If you do need to give biometrics as part of your post-graduation work permit application, you must wait to book a new appointment with Service Canada when the biometrics collection appointments are resumed.
In response to the service disruptions on biometrics enrollment, you will automatically have 90 days from the date on your BIL to complete the biometrics enrollment. You are not required to request a new BIL reflecting the 90-day submission deadline.
Please note that your post-graduation work permit application won't be refused or closed if your biometrics can't be submitted during the 90-day period. Until your biometric enrollment is completed, the processing of your post-graduation work permit will not start which may lead to an increase in the processing times. Please schedule your biometrics appointment as soon as Service Canada is resumed with normal operations.
- Check here on how COVID is affecting getting biometrics for your application.
Travel restrictions and exemptions
To manage the outbreak of COVID-19, travel restrictions have been implemented to stop non-essential travel to Canada by foreign nationals with only a few exemptions.
If you plan to travel abroad while your post-graduation work permit application is being processed within Canada, please review the travel restrictions and exemptions to make an informed decision about your travel plan.
If you will apply for your post-graduation work permit outside Canada, upon approval of your post-graduation work permit, please ensure that you are exempt from the travel restrictions and can travel back to Canada.
- Check here to find out what you need before travelling to Canada.
When you arrive in Canada, under the current procedure, you will go through health screening check before you are allowed to leave the port of entry (e.g. airports). You are also required by law to isolate for 14 days even if you have no COVID-19 related symptoms. In addition, all international travelers returning to BC must submit a self-isolation plan for approval prior to their return or upon arrival to BC.
- Check here on how to submit self-isolation plan prior to return to BC
- Check here on the new order making self-isolation mandatory for individuals entering Canada
Depending on how the COVID-19 situation evolves, the current travel restrictions may be changed or further extended. Therefore, it will be important to closely monitor these in preparation of your return to Canada. Please be prepared that your travel plans could be severely disrupted and you may have to remain outside of Canada longer than expected if you are not exempt from the travel restrictions.
3. CONVOCATION CEREMONY
The 2020 Spring Convocation has been cancelled amid COVID-19. If you have applied to graduate in Spring 2020, you will be invited to attend the in-person convocation ceremony this Fall or next Spring. For convocation related inquiries, please visit the Convocation COVID-19 FAQs page. If your family or friends wish to visit you in Canada for your convocation ceremony in Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, please click here to review our handout on inviting relatives and friends to visit Canada.
Click here for IRCC’s website on visiting Canada
Please keep in mind of the current travel restrictions which has been implemented to stop all non-essential travel to Canada by most foreign nationals. Even if your family member or friend has a valid TRV or eTA, they cannot travel to Canada unless they are exempt from the restrictions and are coming for an essential purpose.
4. MEDICAL INSURANCE AFTER COMPLETION OF YOUR PROGRAM
Primary Medical Insurance:
You must have adequate medical insurance coverage during your time in Canada. If you are currently covered by the British Columbia Medical Services Plan (BC MSP) and need to extend your coverage, you should complete the MSP Account Change Request form online here.
Your study permit or work permit must be valid for a minimum of six months in order to enroll or extend your MSP. If you have less than six months remaining on your study permit at the time of your MSP application, you may still be eligible to enroll with MSP, provided the overall duration of your study permit is six months or longer. Your coverage will be backdated to the eligibility date and corresponding fees will apply.
In response to COVID-19, BC MSP has announced important information about providing temporary MSP coverage to individuals who are currently under implied status and providing COVID-19 treatments for non-MSP residents. If you are currently in B.C with an expired study permit and your MSP has expired, you may be provided temporary MSP coverage if meeting all the criteria. You must contact Health Insurance BC directly to request this temporary coverage.
- Click here to review important information about temporary MSP coverage during COVID-19
If you are currently outside of BC or you just returned to BC, please contact Health Insurance BC directly to inquire on your eligibility to enroll with MSP.
If you are covered by guard.me@SFU plan for the Spring 2020 term, please note that your coverage will end on April 30, 2020. Therefore, you should apply for BC MSP as soon as possible. Click here for more information on how to apply for MSP. Note that when your MSP application is processed, your coverage and fees will be backdated to the date you become eligible for MSP (however, backdating will not extend prior to September 1, 2019).
- Click here to access the online application for BC MSP
If you are not eligible to enroll with MSP, we strongly recommend that you obtain short-term private medical insurance to cover you in the interim (You may be eligible to purchase short-term medical insurance with guard me International Insurance).
Secondary Medical Insurance:
If you are currently covered under the Graduate Student Society (GSS) Health and Dental Plan during the Spring 2020 term, you may continue to use your GSS secondary insurance until August 31, 2020. You must have valid primary health coverage (e.g. BC MSP or guard.me) in order to use the secondary benefit plan.