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Post Graduation Work Permit: Eligibility, Application Process and When to Apply

Graduates from international study programs in Canada are eligible to apply for Post Graduation Work Permit - PGWP, which are open work permits. A PGWP holder is entitled to work for any employer in Canada, at any time, for any number of hours.

PGWPs are valid for between eight months to three years and are a great way to obtain valuable Canadian work experience. Once an applicant has work experience in Canada, it opens a lot of opportunities to obtain Canadian permanent residence.

quick facts

  • Validity: 8 months to 3 years.

  • Fee: $155-$255. 

  • LMIA/Job offer required: No 

  • Processing time: 80 to 180 days.

  • Minimum length of study program: 1 year from a DLI.

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Post Graduation Work Permit

What is a Post Graduation Work Permit - PGWP?


A Post Graduation Work Permit - PGWP is a work permit that allows you to stay and work in Canada after you graduate from a designated Canadian post-secondary institution. To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have studied full-time for at least 8 months and have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit. The PGWP is valid for the same length of time as your study program, up to a maximum of 3 years. You can use your PGWP to gain work experience in your field of study, which can help you find a job after graduation.

The PGWP is issued for the same length of time as the student's study program, up to a maximum of three years. You must also apply within 90 days of receiving your final marks. Upon approval, you'll be able to work in any occupation and change employers without needing to apply for a new work permit.

How is a PGWP different from a normal WP (Work Permit)?


A PGWP 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.

What are the eligibility requirements for a Post Graduation Work Permit - PGWP in Canada?


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

  1. Completed a minimum eight-month long academic, vocational, or professional training program from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

  2. The program of study must result in a degree, diploma, or certificate.

  3. The program of study must have been completed in Canada. Exceptions to this rule were introduced by IRCC during the coronavirus pandemic. 

  4. Must have received their transcripts and their official letter of completion from their respective Designated Learning Institute (DLI). This needs to be submitted along with the application for post-graduation work permit (pgwp). 

In addition to the above, only the following levels of study and programs are eligible for PGWPs:

  • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec; or

  • private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (only applies to certain institutions in Quebec); or

  • private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or

  • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law only for those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.

What is the processing time for a PGWP application? ​

Processing a PGWP can take anywhere between 80 and 180 days. You are permitted to work in Canada while awaiting your PGWP if you applied before to the expiration of your student permit.

You have 180 days from the day you completed your program of study to submit your PGWP application.

If you leave Canada after completing your education, you can now apply for a PGWP from abroad. Previously, work permit applications following graduation could only be submitted from within Canada. If a PGWP application is submitted from outside of Canada, the visa office that will process the application may seek extra documentation.

When should I 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.


Can I work while I am waiting for my PGWP approval? 

If you applied for a PGWP before the expiry of your study permit, you are allowed to legally start working in Canada while you wait for a decision on your PGWP application. 

What documents are required to apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

The documents required for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will depend on the type of work permit you are applying for. Applicants may need to provide the following documents as part of their work permit application:

  1. A valid study permit

  2. A valid passport or travel document

  3. Proof of graduation (e.g., official transcripts, degree certificate)

  4. Two passport-sized photos

  5. The application fee

What makes me ineligible for a PGWP?

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

Need help in applying for a post graduation work permit? Hire an authorized paid representative.

IMMERGITY Immigration Consultant are very experienced with the application process and can help you navigate the system. We will also provide valuable insights and tips on how to increase your chances of success. Get in touch now.

If you're thinking of hiring a representative, be sure to check that they're authorized by IRCC. You can verify our credentials by clicking here.

Hiring a representative is not required, but it can be helpful, especially if you're not familiar with the application process. If you decide to hire a representative, be sure to choose someone who you trust and who you feel comfortable working with.

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