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Post Graduation Work Permit

Post Graduation Work Permit: A Comprehensive Guide for International Students in Canada

The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada to work in the country for a specified period of time. This work permit is designed to provide international students with valuable Canadian work experience, which can enhance their chances of obtaining permanent residence in Canada.

What is a Post Graduation Work Permit?

 

A Post Graduate Work Permit is a document that allows international students who have completed a program of study at a Canadian post-secondary institution to work in Canada. The length of the work permit depends on the length of the program completed, up to a maximum of three years.

Eligibility Criteria for Post Graduation Work Permit

 

To be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit, applicants must meet certain requirements. Here are the key criteria to consider:

  1. Graduation from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI): To apply for a PGWP, you must have completed a full-time program of study at a DLI in Canada. DLIs are institutions approved by provincial or territorial governments to host international students.

  2. Program Duration: The length of the PGWP you may be eligible for depends on the duration of the program you completed. If your program was less than 8 months but at least 900 hours in duration, you will not be eligible for a PGWP.

  3. Full-Time Studies: You must have been a full-time student during your program of study, except in specific circumstances, such as your final term when part-time studies may be permitted.

  4. Valid Study Permit: Your study permit must have been valid throughout your entire program of study. If you let your study permit expire before applying for a PGWP, you will not be eligible.

  5. Program Completion: You must have successfully completed and received a degree, diploma, or certificate from your program of study. Transcripts or an official letter from your DLI confirming your program completion may be required.

 

It is crucial to thoroughly review the eligibility criteria provided by the Government of Canada to ensure you meet all the requirements before applying for a Post Graduate Work Permit.

 

Application Process for Post Graduation Work Permit

 

Once you have confirmed your eligibility for a PGWP, you can proceed with the application process. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Gather Required Documents: Collect all the necessary documents for your PGWP application. These may include your passport, study permit, transcripts, and a letter of completion from your DLI.

  2. Prepare Supporting Documents: Depending on your situation, additional documents may be required. Examples include proof of enrollment, proof of medical examination (if applicable), and proof of language proficiency.

  3. Check Processing Times: Visit the official website of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to check the current processing times for PGWP applications. It is important to submit your application well in advance of your study permit's expiration date.

  4. Complete the Application Form: Fill out the Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710). Ensure that all the information provided is accurate and up to date.

  5. Pay the Application Fee: Pay the required application fee of C$255.00 online. The fee amount may change, so refer to the IRCC website for the most up-to-date information. Ensure you keep a receipt of the payment.

  6. Submit the Application: Submit your application either online through the IRCC website or by mail. Follow the instructions provided by IRCC carefully to avoid any delays or complications.

  7. Wait for the Decision: After submitting your application, you will need to wait for the decision from IRCC. You may be required to attend an interview or provide additional documents if requested.

  8. Receive the Post Graduate Work Permit: If your application is approved, you will receive your PGWP. It will indicate the duration of the permit, which is typically based on the length of your program of study, up to a maximum of three years.

When to apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit?

 

You have 180 days after you get your final transcript to apply for a post graduate work permit (PGWP).

You can apply for a PGWP if:

  • your study permit is still valid.

  • you have a valid visitor record.

  • you applied to extend your study permit before it expired, and no decision has been made on your application.

  • you applied to change your status to visitor before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application.

Duration of the Post Graduate Work Permit

 

The duration of the Post Graduate Work Permit depends on the length of the program you completed in Canada. Here are the general guidelines:

  1. Program Duration of 8 Months or More: If your program of study was at least 8 months but less than 2 years, you may be eligible for a work permit valid for a duration equivalent to the length of your program. For example, if you completed a 12-month program, your work permit could be issued for 12 months.

  2. Program Duration of 2 Years or More: If you completed a program of study that lasted 2 years or more, you may be eligible for a work permit valid for up to three years.

 

It is important to note that the duration of the PGWP is determined based on the length of the program at the time of application.

 

Therefore, if you extend your program or take a break during your studies, it may impact the duration of your work permit. 

Benefits of the Post Graduate Work Permit

 

The Post Graduate Work Permit offers several advantages to international students who wish to work and potentially immigrate to Canada permanently:

  1. Gain Canadian Work Experience: The PGWP allows you to work in Canada, gaining valuable Canadian work experience that can enhance your future employment prospects.

  2. Open Work Permit: The PGWP is an open work permit, which means you are not restricted to a specific employer or location. You have the freedom to work for any employer in Canada and change jobs if desired.

  3. Eligibility for Permanent Residence: Having Canadian work experience through the PGWP can significantly increase your chances of being eligible for various Canadian immigration programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

  4. Opportunity for Express Entry: The work experience gained during your PGWP can contribute to your eligibility for the Express Entry system, which is a pathway to permanent residence for skilled workers.

  5. Post-Work Permit Job Offer: Some Canadian provinces and territories offer additional immigration pathways for international graduates who have obtained a job offer related to their field of study.

Post Graduate Work Permit vs a regular Work Permit (WP)

 

A Post Graduate Work Permit is an open work permit. This means it is not employer specific. Whereas, a foreign national needs to obtain an LMIA approved Work Permit to work in Canada. A majority of such work permits are employer specific. This means the foreign national is in a contract with this employer and can only work for the number of hours specified on their contract. They can not work a second job either. On the other hand, a PGWP holder has no such restrictions. A PGWP holder can work for any employer for any number of hours and change employers anytime they wish. The foreign national should not work for any employer on the ineligible employers list irrespective of the type of work permit they hold.

PGWP Application Processing Time

A PGWP application may take between 80 to 180 days to process. This does not mean that you can not work while you wait for your PGWP application outcome. You are eligible to work in Canada as long as you submitted your PGWP application prior to the expiry of your Study Permit. 

Tips for Faster Approval

 

The processing time for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) application can vary depending on various factors, including the volume of applications and the applicant's country of origin. On average, the processing time can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Here are some tips to help expedite the approval process:

  1. Apply Online: Applying online through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website is generally faster than a paper application.

  2. Check Eligibility Carefully: Ensure that all eligibility criteria are met before applying to avoid unnecessary delays.

  3. Complete Forms Accurately: Fill out all application forms accurately and double-check for any errors before submission.

  4. Pay the Application Fee Promptly: Ensure the application fee is paid promptly to avoid delays in processing.

  5. Submit Complete Documents: Submit all required documents, including transcripts, certificates, and supporting documents, in a timely and complete manner.

  6. Follow Instructions: Follow all instructions provided by IRCC, including biometrics and medical examination, if required.

  7. Monitor Application Status: Keep track of the application status using the IRCC online portal.

  8. Be Responsive: Respond promptly to any requests for additional information or clarification from IRCC.

  9. Consider a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): If eligible, applicants waiting for their PGWP approval can apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit to maintain their status and continue working.

  10. Seek Professional Help: If unsure about the application process, consider seeking assistance from a qualified immigration consultant or lawyer.

 

Remember that each application is unique, and processing times can vary, so it's essential to be patient throughout the process.

Working While Awaiting a Decision

 

Once you have applied for your PGWP, and if you had a valid study permit when you applied:

  1. You can work full-time until a decision is made on your work permit application.

  2. If your study permit expires before you apply for a PGWP, you can't work until you get a work permit.

  3. If you have a valid PGWP and plan on traveling outside Canada and returning, make sure you also have a valid visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to return to Canada.

 

Travel Outside Canada During the Post Graduation Work Permit Processing

 

International students who have applied for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) may wonder whether they can travel outside Canada while their application is still in process. Here are some important points to consider:

  1. Validity of Study Permit: If the applicant's study permit is still valid at the time of travel, they can leave and re-enter Canada using the valid study permit.

  2. Temporary Resident Visa (TRV): Students from countries that require a TRV to enter Canada will need a valid TRV to return if they choose to travel outside the country.

  3. Biometrics and Medical Exam: If the applicant needs to provide biometrics or undergo a medical examination, they should plan their travel accordingly to avoid any conflicts with the application process.

  4. Application Status: Before traveling, applicants should check the status of their PGWP application. If a decision is pending, it's generally not advisable to travel, as it may be seen as abandoning the application.

  5. Port of Entry Letter: If the PGWP is approved while the applicant is outside Canada, they will receive a Port of Entry (POE) Letter of Introduction. This letter allows them to obtain the actual PGWP at the Canadian border or airport.

  6. Maintaining Status: If the applicant's study permit has expired and they travel outside Canada, they may not be able to return until the PGWP is approved, unless they have a valid TRV.

  7. Emergency Travel: In case of an emergency, it is essential to contact Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to discuss the situation and seek guidance.

 

Traveling outside Canada during the PGWP processing can have implications on the application, so it's crucial to consider the circumstances and seek professional advice if needed.

Working Part-time and Post Graduation Work Permit

International students in Canada on a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) may have questions about working part-time while they pursue their studies or after graduation. Here are some important points to know about working part-time with a PGWP:

  1. Work Hours Limit: With a valid PGWP, students can work full-time (up to 40 hours per week) during scheduled breaks, such as summer or winter holidays.

  2. Work Hours During Academic Terms: While academic terms are ongoing, PGWP holders can work part-time, up to 20 hours per week.

  3. Multiple Employers: PGWP holders can work for multiple employers simultaneously as long as they stay within the prescribed work hours limits.

  4. Self-Employment: Students on a PGWP can also work as self-employed individuals and operate their businesses.

  5. Employment Outside Canada: The work hours restrictions apply only to work done within Canada. There are no restrictions on working remotely for an employer outside Canada.

  6. Validity of the PGWP: The work permit is typically issued for a specific duration, and students must ensure it remains valid while they work.

  7. No Need for Additional Work Permit: A separate work permit is not required to work part-time with a PGWP.

  8. Work Experience for Permanent Residency: The work experience gained during part-time employment on a PGWP may be valuable for certain Canadian permanent residency programs.

  9. Impact on Studies: While working part-time can provide income and valuable experience, students must ensure that it does not negatively affect their academic performance.

  10. Extending the Work Permit: If students wish to continue working after the PGWP's expiration, they need to explore other work permit options or consider applying for permanent residency.

 

Working part-time with a PGWP is a great way for international students to gain practical experience while studying or after graduation, contributing to their overall Canadian experience.

Post Graduation Work Permit - 2023 Open Work Permit Public Policy

New Public Policy for Open Work Permits for Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders

The Canadian government has recognized the significant role that Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders play in addressing labor shortages, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. These permit holders, many of whom are keen on transitioning to permanent residency, have been instrumental in filling acute labor market needs across various sectors in Canada.

To support these individuals, a new public policy has been introduced to facilitate the issuance of open work permits to certain former or current PGWP holders. This policy aims to prevent the potential loss of this skilled workforce, who have completed their post-secondary education in Canada and may already be contributing to the labor market.

 

Key Details:

  1. Background: The PGWP holders are currently helping address labor shortages in Canada. Most of these permit holders aim to transition to permanent resident status, making them vital for Canada's economic recovery post-pandemic.

  2. Public Policy Considerations: The Canadian labor market faces challenges with record-low unemployment rates. Facilitating work permits for those already in Canada can help employers fill positions and prevent workers from leaving the country. PGWP holders whose permits expired or will expire between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2023, can benefit from this policy.

  3. Eligibility and Provisions: The policy provides various conditions and eligibility requirements for applicants, whether they are in Canada with status, in Canada but not eligible for restoration, or outside Canada. The provisions include exemptions from certain requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations.

  4. Effective Date and Expiration: This public policy is effective from April 6, 2023, and will expire on December 31, 2023. It may be revoked at any time, and applications received within this timeframe will be processed under this policy.

 

Insights:

  1. The introduction of this public policy underscores the importance of retaining skilled individuals who have already integrated into the Canadian society and workforce.

  2. By facilitating the issuance of open work permits, Canada is taking proactive measures to address labor market challenges and ensure a steady economic recovery.

  3. The policy's time-bound nature emphasizes the urgency to act and provide solutions for PGWP holders facing permit expiration.

Study with a Post Graduation Work Permit

 

International students with a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) may wonder whether they can pursue further studies in Canada while holding the work permit. Here's what they need to know:

  1. Validity of Study Permit: If the student's study permit is still valid, they can continue studying with the study permit until it expires.

  2. Extending the Study Permit: If the student wishes to continue their studies after the PGWP's expiration, they will need to apply for a new study permit.

  3. Program Eligibility: The new study program must meet all eligibility criteria for a study permit, including being from a designated learning institution.

  4. Work While Studying: Students with a valid study permit can also work on or off-campus while pursuing their studies.

  5. Maintaining Status: It is essential to maintain legal status in Canada at all times. If the study permit has expired, the student should apply for an extension before continuing their studies.

  6. Combining Work and Study: Students can combine work and study to gain valuable work experience while obtaining further education.

  7. Full-Time Studies: To be eligible for a PGWP after completing the new study program, the student must complete it on a full-time basis.

  8. Co-op or Internship Programs: Some study programs may have co-op or internship components. In such cases, students may need additional work permits, depending on the duration and nature of the work.

  9. PGWP Extension for New Studies: Students who complete a new study program may be eligible for a PGWP extension, depending on the length of the program.

  10. Permanent Residency: Continuing studies in Canada may have positive implications on the path to Canadian permanent residency.

 

International students should plan their academic and career goals carefully, taking into account the rules and regulations related to study permits and work permits.

Post Graduation Work Permit and Taxes

 

International students on a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada may have questions about their tax obligations. Here are some essential points about taxes and the PGWP:

  1. Residency Status: Students on a PGWP are considered residents for tax purposes in Canada. This means they are subject to Canadian income tax laws.

  2. Social Insurance Number (SIN): To work in Canada and pay taxes, PGWP holders need to have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).

  3. Income Tax Deductions: Employers are required to deduct income tax from the employee's paycheck and remit it to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  4. Income Tax Filing: PGWP holders are required to file an income tax return with the CRA for the tax year in which they earned income.

  5. Taxable Income: All income earned in Canada is generally taxable, including wages, tips, commissions, and any other benefits received.

  6. Tax Credits and Deductions: PGWP holders may be eligible for various tax credits and deductions, depending on their individual circumstances.

  7. Goods and Services Tax (GST)/Harmonized Sales Tax (HST): PGWP holders may also need to pay GST/HST on goods and services purchased in Canada.

  8. Provincial Taxes: Provincial or territorial taxes may also apply, depending on the province or territory of employment.

  9. Tax Treaties: Some countries have tax treaties with Canada that may impact the taxation of certain types of income.

  10. Filing Deadline: The deadline for filing income tax returns in Canada is typically April 30th of the following year, though it may vary.

 

It's essential for PGWP holders to familiarize themselves with the Canadian tax system and meet their tax obligations to avoid any issues with the authorities.

Changing Jobs on a Post Graduation Work Permit

 

International students on a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada may consider changing jobs during their work permit's validity. Here's what they should know about changing employers:

  1. Open Work Permit Holders: PGWP holders have open work permits, meaning they can work for any employer in Canada.

  2. No Need for New Work Permit: A separate work permit is not required when changing jobs with a PGWP.

  3. Maintaining Status: While changing jobs, it is essential to maintain legal status in Canada and ensure the PGWP remains valid.

  4. Notify IRCC: PGWP holders are not required to notify Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) about changing jobs.

  5. Employer-specific Work Permit Holders: Some international graduates may have employer-specific work permits. In such cases, they need to apply for a new work permit if changing employers.

  6. Co-op or Internship Programs: If changing jobs during a co-op or internship program, students must ensure it aligns with the program's requirements and any study program obligations.

  7. Work Hours Limit: While working for a new employer, ensure compliance with the work hours limits specified in the PGWP conditions.

  8. Impact on Permanent Residency: If pursuing Canadian permanent residency, be mindful of the impact of job changes on the Canadian Experience Class eligibility.

  9. Observe Notice Periods: Provide sufficient notice to the current employer and adhere to any contractual obligations when changing jobs.

  10. Work Contract and Terms: Before accepting a new job, review the employment contract and terms to ensure they align with expectations.

 

Changing jobs on a PGWP can provide new opportunities for career growth and skill development, allowing international graduates to make the most of their Canadian work experience.

Options After the Post Graduation Work Permit Expires

As the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) nears its expiration, international graduates have several options for their future in Canada:

  1. Applying for Permanent Residency: Graduates with skilled work experience may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class or other provincial nominee programs.

  2. Work Permit Extension: Graduates can explore other work permit options, such as the International Mobility Program or employer-specific work permits, to continue working in Canada.

  3. Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP): If graduates have applied for permanent residency and their PGWP is about to expire, they can apply for a BOWP to maintain their status and continue working while waiting for their PR application's decision.

  4. Return to Home Country: Graduates may choose to return to their home country after the PGWP expires, taking the experience and knowledge gained in Canada with them.

  5. Further Studies: Some graduates may decide to pursue further studies in Canada, applying for a new study permit for a different program.

  6. Temporary Resident Status: Graduates who have not yet secured permanent residency or another work permit option may apply for a visitor visa to remain in Canada temporarily.

  7. Entrepreneurial Opportunities: Graduates with innovative business ideas can explore options for starting a business in Canada, such as the Start-up Visa Program.

  8. Work Holiday Programs: Depending on their nationality, graduates may be eligible for work holiday programs that allow them to work and travel in Canada.

  9. Explore Provincial Nominee Programs: Some provinces have specific immigration streams for international graduates, providing additional pathways to permanent residency.

  10. Seek Professional Advice: Graduates unsure about their options can seek guidance from qualified immigration consultants or lawyers.

PGWP and Employment Insurance: Eligibility and Benefits

 

The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada allows international graduates to work in the country for a specified period after completing their studies. However, like any other worker in Canada, PGWP holders may face unforeseen circumstances, such as job loss or reduced working hours. In such situations, they may be eligible to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits to provide financial support during their temporary unemployment.

 

Eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

 

To be eligible for Employment Insurance benefits, PGWP holders must meet specific criteria set by the Employment Insurance program:

  1. Work Hours Requirement: PGWP holders must have accumulated a minimum number of insurable work hours within the last 52 weeks before applying for EI benefits. The required number of hours may vary depending on the region and local unemployment rate.

  2. Reason for Unemployment: PGWP holders must be unemployed due to no fault of their own. Common reasons include job loss, layoff, or reduction of working hours by the employer.

  3. Valid Work Permit: The PGWP must be valid at the time of applying for EI benefits.

  4. Ability and Availability to Work: Applicants must be physically present in Canada and ready and able to work if a suitable job opportunity arises.

  5. Continued Job Search: PGWP holders must be actively looking for employment opportunities and be willing to accept suitable job offers.

  6. Maintaining Residency: Applicants must maintain their residency status and not be absent from Canada for an extended period during the EI claim period.

 

Applying for Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

 

PGWP holders who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for EI benefits online through the Service Canada website or by visiting a Service Canada Centre. The application process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Gather Required Information: Applicants need to gather necessary information, including their Social Insurance Number (SIN), contact information, employment history, and details of their PGWP.

  2. Submit the Application: The online application can be submitted through the Service Canada website. For in-person applications, applicants can visit a Service Canada Centre.

  3. Waiting Period: There is a one-week waiting period after the application is submitted before benefits are paid. During this waiting period, applicants are encouraged to continue searching for employment.

  4. EI Benefit Calculation: The amount of EI benefits received is calculated based on the applicant's insurable earnings and the regional unemployment rate.

  5. Waiting for Decision: Service Canada reviews the application and determines eligibility for EI benefits. If approved, payments will be made on a bi-weekly basis.

 

Types of Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits

 

There are different types of EI benefits that PGWP holders may be eligible for, depending on their situation:

  1. Regular Benefits: These are provided to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own and meet the work hours requirement.

  2. Special Benefits: Special benefits include maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, and family caregiver benefits. To qualify for these benefits, applicants must have paid EI premiums and meet specific criteria for each benefit type.

  3. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB): If PGWP holders do not qualify for EI benefits, they may be eligible for the CRB, which provides financial support to those who have experienced income loss due to COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI.

 

Reporting Requirements while Receiving EI Benefits

While receiving Employment Insurance benefits, PGWP holders must fulfill certain reporting requirements to maintain eligibility:

  1. Bi-Weekly Reports: Recipients are required to submit bi-weekly reports to Service Canada, detailing their job search activities and any earnings they may have received during the reporting period.

  2. Job Search Efforts: Applicants must actively search for employment opportunities and provide details of their job search efforts in their reports.

  3. Availability for Work: Recipients must be available for work and accept suitable job offers that align with their qualifications and experience.

  4. Reporting Earnings: Any earnings received during the benefit period must be reported accurately to Service Canada. EI benefits may be adjusted based on the reported earnings.

 

Duration and Extension of EI Benefits

The duration of Employment Insurance benefits for PGWP holders depends on various factors, including the number of insurable work hours accumulated and the regional unemployment rate. Typically, EI benefits are provided for a specific number of weeks, after which the claim may be extended based on the individual's circumstances.

PGWP and the Express Entry System

 

Canadian work experience gained through the PGWP can help graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class, which is part of the Express Entry system. Here are some key points:

  1. Canadian Experience Class: You need at least one year of Canadian work experience.

  2. Express Entry Profile: Create your profile and enter the pool of candidates.

  3. Invitation to Apply: Based on your Comprehensive Ranking System score, you may receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residence.

Refusals and Next Steps

You are not eligible for a PGWP if you:

  • already received a PGWP

  • studied English or French as a second language

  • took general interest or self-improvement courses

  • participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by Global Affairs Canada

  • had funding from Global Affairs Canada

  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile

  • participated in the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchanges Program

  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program

  • completed the majority of a study program by distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)

  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada

Important Points to Note

  • The PGWP is issued only once in a lifetime. Therefore, it is crucial to plan your studies and work experience accordingly.

  • If your PGWP application is not approved, you must leave Canada unless you have obtained alternate legal status.

  • There may be restrictions on work permits like internship/co-op, off-campus, and post-graduate work permits subject to certain conditions.

  • Spouses and partners of PGWP holders may be eligible for a work permit.

Sometimes, applications get refused. Common reasons include:

  1. Study program duration: If your program was less than eight months, you're not eligible.

  2. Distance learning: If the majority of your program was completed via distance learning, you're not eligible.

  3. Application delay: If you applied after 180 days of program completion.

How Can I Avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian  Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

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