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I applied for a post-graduation work permit two months ago. Current processing times seem to be between four and five months, while my study permit expires at the end of this month. So there will be some time where I do not have a valid immigration document and have to rely on implied status.

I already started working, and I have two trips planned (one to the US and one to Japan) that would likely fall in this period. I know that implied status is typically granted by paragraph 186(u) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which specifies that the person may not leave Canada (emphasis mine):

  1. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit

(u) until a decision is made on an application made by them under subsection 201(1), if they have remained in Canada after the expiry of their work permit and they have continued to comply with the conditions set out on the expired work permit, other than the expiry date;

However, implied status for post-graduation work permits seems to fall under paragraph 186(w) instead:

  1. A foreign national may work in Canada 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.

This paragraph makes no mention of remaining in Canada.

While waiting for my post-graduate work permit, am I allowed to work under implied status after leaving and returning to Canada?

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CIC's official website clearly says that you MUST stay in Canada while you have an implied status.

Quoting from CIC:

You must stay in Canada and meet the conditions of your original work permit. If you applied for a work permit extension before your work permit expired, you can keep working under the same conditions as your existing permit until CIC decides on your application, even if you have applied to extend your stay under another category of temporary resident.

This also includes going to the USA. Since some work permit holders have confusions between if they can go to the USA and come back without a work permit.

Going out of Canada wouldn't be that much of a problem if you have the visa for your respective destination countries. But re-entering Canada with an implied status is unfortunately not possible.

However one option I can think of is that if your study permit (and the visa) has not expired yet, you can go on the basis of that document and re-enter Canada.

In any case, you WILL need an official travel document (work permit or student permit and respective visa) to re-enter Canada.

However you should always contact CIC customer service and confirm. Number: 1 (888) 242-2100

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    I've read these FAQ pages, and I suspect they only apply to implied status under paragraph 186(u), as 186(w) is a fairly recent addition. There is also the option of re-entering Canada as a visitor if I do not have a valid work or study permit. That said, this is definitely the prudent course of action. – Mangara Nov 2 '15 at 16:16
  • Yes that's what I was coming at when I said a non-expired study permit. Additionally you will have to go through the trouble of applying as a visitor again. I would suggest to wait for the work permit to arrive and get a visa on that permit and then go wherever you want. – Dipen Shah Nov 2 '15 at 16:23
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    Just to confirm you can always call CIC customer service and confirm. Number: 1 (888) 242-2100 – Dipen Shah Nov 2 '15 at 16:31
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I actually ended up going to an immigration lawyer for advice on this issue. After reviewing the applicable law, she did not see anything that would prevent me from working under 186(w) after leaving Canada and returning, and was willing to provide me with a letter to this effect that I could present to the immigration officer upon returning to Canada.

Thankfully, all this ended up not being necessary: my work permit arrived well before my trips (which also means I haven't tested this theory at the border - try it at your own risk!).

Update (July 2018): She has since written a newsletter with more detailed information, including the following quote:

Of note is that this authority to work is not based on having implied status after submitting an application. For this reason, even if graduates travel outside Canada during the processing of their applications, they will be permitted to work upon return. For more, see the IRCC Help Centre page titled ‘I’m waiting for my post-graduation work permit. Can I travel outside Canada and come back with my student visa?’.

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