What is Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs)?
Post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) are open work permits given to international students who graduate from a Canadian program of study. PGWPs allow the holder to work for any employer, for as many hours they wish, anywhere in Canada.
Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) are for international students who have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). PGWPs are open work permits, meaning that they grant foreign nationals the freedom to work for any employer, anywhere in Canada.
Unlike most Canadian work permits, the PGWP does not require a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
PGWPs enable eligible graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience. With enough work experience in Canada, many foreign nationals become eligible for Canada’s permanent residency programs, including one of the following pathways:
PGWP quick facts
A post-graduation work permit can be valid for any length of time between eight months and three years.
A PGWP will not be issued for a duration longer than the applicant’s duration of study in Canada.
Generally, the PGWP will be approximately the same duration as the applicant’s period of study, up to a maximum of three years.
As long as more than 50% of your program of study is conducted via in-person classes, you are eligible for a PGWP equal to the duration of your program of study.
If you studied part-time, or did accelerated studies, the length of your PGWP will be the length of your program of study, if taken full-time.
Who is eligible for a PGWP?
In order to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), a foreign national must be at least 18 years old and have studied full-time in Canada in a program of at least 8 months.
The study program must have been completed at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in one of the following types of programs listed below.
As well, in order to apply for the work permit, a foreign national must apply within 180 days of the completion of their study program.
If an applicant is applying from within Canada, they must have valid status at the time of application. If their study permit has expired or will expire they may apply for status as a visitor before applying for the PGWP.
How long does it take to get a PGWP?
A PGWP can take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to process.
While waiting for your PGWP, you are free to work in Canada provided you applied prior to the expiry date of your student permit.
You have 180 days to apply for your PGWP from the date you completed all the requirements of your program of study.
If you leave Canada after your studies have been completed, you can now apply for a PGWP from overseas. Previously post-graduation work permit applications needed to be submitted exclusively from within Canada.
If a PGWP application is submitted from outside of Canada, additional documentation may be requested depending on the visa office that will process the application.
International graduates who apply for a PGWP before the expiry of their study permit are able to begin legally working in Canada.
These candidates do not need to hold a Canadian work permit while they await a decision on their application for a PGWP.
If your student permit has expired, you may be eligible to restore your status and apply, provided you have only been out of status for less than 90 days.
You can only apply for a PGWP once. If you are planning on taking another program of study that is a continuation of your first program, or you are considering taking a longer degree program in Canada, you might want to apply for your PGWP strategically.
Applying after the longest period of study will grant you a PGWP with longer validity, to a maximum of three years.
Canada’s Post Graduation Work Program is designed to provide an efficient path for international students in Canada to gain permanent residence status in the country.
By bridging Canadian education into meaningful full-time work experience in the country, a candidate is in a great position to apply under the Canadian Express Entry immigration system.
Having a Canadian educational credential and work experience ensures that an Express Entry applicant will gain valuable extra points towards their comprehensive ranking system (CRS) score, making them more competitive amongst other applicants for gaining permanent resident status!
Provincial nominee programs (PNPs), or if you studied in Quebec, the Quebec Experience Class program, are also immigration categories that favor candidates with a Canadian educational credential and work experience.
Another great advantage of the PGWP is that you do not need a job offer to apply for it. With 6 months at your disposal, you will easily find work in Canada at your own convenience.