Post-Graduation Work Permit

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

is a program that allows international students who have graduated from eligible Canadian institutions to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. This program is designed to provide recent graduates with Canadian work experience and enable them to transition to permanent residence in Canada.

To be eligible for a PGWP, international students must have completed a full-time program of study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada that was at least eight months in duration. The program must lead to a degree, diploma or certificate, and the student must have maintained full-time student status throughout their studies. Additionally, the student must have a valid study permit when applying for the PGWP.

The length of the PGWP will depend on the length of the student’s program of study, up to a maximum of three years. For example, if a student completed a program of study that was two years in length, they would be eligible for a PGWP that is also two years in length.

The PGWP is an open work permit, which means that the graduate can work for any employer in Canada, and in any occupation. This provides flexibility and allows graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience in their field of study or explore other career options.

It’s important to note that applying for a PGWP must be done within 180 days of receiving written confirmation that the student has completed their program of study and has met all the requirements for graduation. The PGWP application must be submitted online, and the processing time can vary depending on the volume of applications received.

Overall, the PGWP program is a great option for international students who wish to stay and work in Canada after completing their studies, gain Canadian work experience, and potentially transition to permanent residence in Canada.

Online study
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has a special policy in place during the coronavirus pandemic that allows international students to conduct distance learning at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution and still be eligible for a PGWP as long as they meet all other conditions. DLIs are colleges and universities that are accredited by the Canadian government to welcome international students.

International students who study online from abroad or who submit a study permit application no later than August 31, 2022 will remain eligible to complete up to 100% of their program online without it affecting their PGWP eligibility. However, study time completed from abroad starting on September 1, 2023, will be deducted from the length of international student’s PGWP regardless of when the international student began their studies.

To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, international students must have:

Completed studies in an academic, vocational or professional training program that is at least eight months long at an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) List.
Study program must lead to a degree, diploma or certificate.
Held full-time student status in Canada during every academic session of the program or programs of study completed and included as part of their post-graduation work permit application;
Note: Canada has waived this requirement during the coronavirus pandemic for certain international students. Exemptions may apply to those who have begun or will begin a program between spring 2020 and summer 2022, or those whose program was already in progress in March 2020. In addition, exceptions may apply for those who took a leave from their studies in their final academic session.
Received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that the applicant has met the requirements to complete their program of study;
The transcript and official letter must be included in a post-graduation work permit application.
Graduated from:
a public post-secondary institution, such as
-a college
-a trade or technical school
-a university
-CEGEP (in Quebec)
-a private post-secondary -school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec;
-a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or
Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.
Note: Graduates of vocational and professional training programs in Quebec must meet additional PGWP criteria outlined by IRCC depending on the type of diploma issued.

How Long is a PGWP Valid For?

A PGWP is valid for anywhere between 8 months to 3 years.

The actual length depends on the length of your program at a Canadian DLI. IRCC provides the following guidelines on its website:

  1. Completed program under 8 months: Not eligible for a PGWP
  2. Completed program between 8 months and less than 2 years: The PGWP will be valid for the same length of your study program (e.g., a 10-month program will result in a 10-month PGWP)
  3. Completed program of 2 years or more: PGWP will be valid for 3 years
  4. Completed more than one program: You may be able to combine your Canadian educational programs to get a PGWP as long as the programs are DLI eligible and each over 8 months in duration. The total length of the PGWP will correspond to the durations above.
    What is the PGWP’s Application Deadline?


The deadline to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit is within 180 days (six months) of obtaining a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that the requirements to complete the program of study have been met.

If the study permit is set to expire before the marks have come in, candidates have two options:

-apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer; or
-leave Canada and apply for the PGWP

When applying, applicants must demonstrate that they either hold a valid study permit, held a study permit, or were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.


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