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Work permit

Post Graduation Work Permit(PGWP)

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining international students. As an open work permit, the PGWP allows international graduates to work with any Canadian employer without needing a prior job offer. International students who have successfully completed their education at a Designated Canadian Learning Institution (DLI) are eligible for these PGWPs. The PGWP entitles students to reside in Canada and work full-time in Canada for a duration of up to three years after they have completed their studies. The duration of this work permit depends on the length of the educational program. The PGWP offers individuals an opportunity to advance their professional careers and gain valuable Canadian work experience that is often crucial to gaining permanent residency status.

Eligibility Requirements for PGWP

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:

  • Completed a program of study from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that lasted at least eight months and led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Studied full-time each academic session (excludes scheduled breaks), with following exceptions:
  • You studied part-time in your final academic session only. 
  • You took an authorized leave in studies for less than 150 days. 
  • You stopped studying or changed to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 for reasons related to COVID-19. 
  • Received your degree/diploma, transcript, or an official letter of completion from your school.
  • 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 a 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.
  • A valid study permit or visitor record.
  • 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.

PGWP application deadline

Applicants must submit their PGWP application within 180 days following receipt of a transcript, degree/diploma, or an official letter of completion. It is essential to have valid legal status when applying within Canada. Applicants have two options if their study permits are about to expire, and they do not yet have an official transcript or completion letter:

  • Apply for a visitor record to extend your stay in Canada.
  • Leave Canada and apply for the PGWP from overseas.

Applicants must also prove that they either currently hold a valid study permit, previously held a study permit, or were authorized to study in Canada without a study permit as per paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

If you stay in Canada and let your permit expire, you must apply to restore your status as a student to apply for your PGWP.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (application deadline) Key Points

Duration: Between 8 months and 3 years, generally matching the study program length, up to three years.

In-person Classes: Eligibility requires more than 50% of the program to be in-person.

Part-time/Accelerated Studies: PGWP length equals full-time program duration.

One-time issuance: You can only receive one PGWP. You cannot get a PGWP if you already had one after completing an earlier study program.

Work Authorization: Applicants can work full-time immediately after PGWP application and before study permit expiration, without a separate work permit.

Application from Abroad: Graduates can apply for a PGWP from outside Canada after completing their studies.

Special cases

If you belong to any of these groups, you may be eligible for a PGWP if you meet the criteria.

Accelerated Program Completion: If you complete your study program faster than its normal duration, you may be eligible for a PGWP corresponding to the full length of your program. For instance, completing a 1-year program in 8 months could still qualify you for a 1-year PGWP.

Distance Learning Considerations

During COVID-19 (Until August 31, 2022): A temporary policy allowed students to complete up to 100% of their studies online from outside Canada. It applied to PGWP-eligible students who were unable to travel to Canada due to COVID-19 but continued online courses. It applies to students who started their programs between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, or had ongoing programs as of March 2020. Additionally, candidates must hold a study permit, be approved for one, or have succeeded in a subsequent application.

Post-COVID-19 Policy Change (From September 1, 2022): Eligibility is determined by the start date of the program or the receipt date of the study permit application. At least 50% of the program must be completed in class in Canada after September 1, 2024, and time spent studying outside Canada will be deducted from the PGWP.

Taking Leave from Studies: Taking an unauthorized leave from your study program can disqualify you from PGWP eligibility if it’s found that you did not meet the conditions. In some cases, authorized leaves up to 150 days may still allow you to meet the conditions of your study permit, provided you can prove that your DLI authorized the leave.

Transfers between schools

Moving Between Approved Schools: You should study for at least 8 months in total to qualify. Switching from a non-DLI to a DLI: Only your study time at a DLI counts, and you need to study there for a minimum of 8 months.

Studying in Canada with an overseas component: If your Canadian school gives credit for overseas study, you can still qualify for the PGWP. However, your PGWP will only be valid for the duration of your study in Canada.

Flight school graduates: For flight school graduates, make sure you complete a course at an approved training center. You have finished a flight training course at a DLI training centre, and you have a Canadian commercial pilot’s license, or you have been offered a job as a flight instructor at a DLI flight training centre.

Graduates of certain Quebec schools: For Quebec vocational and technical training graduates seeking a PGWP, you must have graduated from a PGWP eligible DLI, which includes public or provincially subsidized private secondary and post-secondary schools with programs of at least 900 hours. Your degree, diploma, or attestation, like a DVS, AVS, ACS, or DCS, must be issued by the Gouvernement du Québec. Ensure your program is PGWP eligible by checking your school’s details. When applying for PGWP, include an official letter from your school detailing the program length and code, along with your completion certificate or official transcript.

Ineligible PGWP Applicants

Certain categories of international students are not eligible for the PGWP, including those who:

  • Have already received a PGWP previously.
  • Undertook studies primarily in English or French as a Second Language (ESL/FSL).
  • Enrolled in general interest or self-improvement courses.
  • Were funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC).
  • Were part of the Government of Canada Awards Program under GAC.
  • Benefitted from the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile.
  • Participated in the Canada–China Scholars Exchange Program.
  • Engaged in the Organization of American States Fellowship Program.
  • Completed most of their program credits through distance learning.
  • Completed a study program offered by a non-Canadian institution based in Canada, irrespective of their duration of stay in Canada.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)about PGWP

It allows graduates of eligible Canadian DLI’s to gain work experience in Canada. It’s an open work permit, meaning you can work for any employer.

Its duration mirrors your study program, ranging from 8 months to a maximum of 3 years.

Eligibility is primarily for full-time students, but part-time study in your last semester is acceptable.

Yes, you have 180 days post-study permit expiry, provided you maintain legal status.

No, you can apply without a job offer, giving you the flexibility to search for employment post-graduation.

Yes, this interim period allows you to work full-time while your application is processed.

PGWP is typically issued only once after completing your first eligible study program. For example, if you complete a 2-year diploma program and receive a 3-year PGWP, you cannot apply for another PGWP after completing an additional study program. However, the PGWP’s validity is tied to your passport validity. If you are eligible for a 3-year PGWP but receive only 2 years due to your passport’s expiration date, you can extend your PGWP for the remaining year by renewing your passport. This extension is contingent on meeting the eligibility criteria and having a valid passport for the entire requested duration.

Yes, but ensure your re-entry documents like a visitor visa or eTA are valid.

Yes, special considerations are given to various academic situations like accelerated programs and study breaks.

As long as it’s part of a Canadian program, you’re eligible.

Your PGWP is tied to your passport’s validity; renew your passport for the full PGWP period.

The minimum duration for PGWP eligibility is 8 months, aligned with substantial academic programs.

Unapproved breaks can impact eligibility, emphasizing the importance of maintaining continuous, full-time enrollment.

No, whether it’s a diploma or a degree, the focus is on meeting other eligibility criteria.

Yes, post-graduate diplomas are considered, as long as they meet PGWP standards.