Post-Graduation Work Permits for International Students in Canada

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Programs (PGWP) are designed for international students seeking to study in Canada, International students completing their post-secondary education in Canada may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit and be able to obtain Canadian work experience.

Gained skilled work experience in NOC skill type 0 or skill level A or B by PGWP holders helps graduates qualify for permanent residence through Express Entry.

The validity of Post-Graduation Work Permit may be based on the length of the study program for a minimum of 8 months up to a maximum of 3 years. Once international grads are qualified for PGWP, they are issued an open work permit, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer. At the time they apply for PGWP they are not required to have Canadian job offer. Post-graduation work permits are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments. With a Post-Graduation Work Permit graduate can:

  • Work Full time,
  • Work Part time,
  • Be Self-Employed

The Post-Graduation work permit is only issued one time in life.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Programs (PGWP) Eligibility and Requirements

For the international students to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit at the time of applying they need to have a valid temporary status in Canada or be outside Canada.

If an individual stays in Canada and his/her permit expires, they must apply to restore their status as a student to apply for their PGWP. To restore their status, they must pay additional fees.

They must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Completion of studies in Canada in an academic, vocational, or professional training program that is at least 08 months long and study program must be leading into a degree, diploma, or certificate (SEE MORE – section 1)
  • Must have held full-time student status in Canada throughout each academic session of the program or completed programs of study and submit as part of their PGWP application. (SEE MORE – section 2)
  • Must have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming they have met the requirements to complete their program of study and both must be included in a PGWP application.

For graduates (vocational and professional training programs) in Quebec there is an additional PGWP criteria they must meet which is formed by IRCC, depending on the issued type of diploma.

Only the time you spend studying at the DLI will be counted. You must spend at least 8 months at the DLI to be eligible for a PGWP.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Programs (PGWP) Process

After the graduates obtain their transcript and official letter from the eligible DLI which is confirming they have completed all study program requirements, they have 180 days (06 months) to apply for PGWP.

Graduation from a DLI does not automatically make you eligible for a PGWP. Check the DLI list to find out which schools have eligible programs.

They must be in valid status and have a valid study permit. If the study permit is about to expire before they receive their transcript and official letter or submit their PGWP application, applicants must do the following:

  • Apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer or
  • Leave Canada and apply for their PGWP

Upon applying, students must demonstrate they were authorized to study in Canada by holding or held a valid study permit, without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

The applicants have 180 days after they receive their final marks to apply for a PGWP.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Programs (PGWP) Supporting Documents

Students must maintain their full-time student status during each academic session of the program or programs of study they complete and submit as part of their Post-Graduation Work Permit application.

Two most important documents that are required at the time of submitting an application:

  • A confirmation letter of completion of the study program and
  • An official transcript provided by their DLI.

While submitting the requested documents with the PGWP application, an officer may request for additional documents during the process.

If a student meets all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status during their final academic session (that is, they have part-time status only in their final academic session), they are still considered eligible for the PGWP.

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