Post-Graduation Work Permits allow international graduates of Canadian institutions to work after graduation.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions concerning Post-Graduation Work Permits for International Students in Canada.

A PGWP is an open work permit available to international graduates from eligible Canadian educational institutions. It allows the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada.

The PGWP program is open to candidates holding an eligible diploma from a recognized Canadian educational institution. The candidate must have studied full-time in Canada for at least eight months preceding the application. Candidates who have completed a study program shorter than eight months in duration are not eligible for the PGWP.

A graduate from a Canadian college or university must apply for a PGWP if he or she intends to remain and work in Canada.

The PGWP can be valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the graduate’s program of study. If the study program was between eight months and two years in duration, the PGWP will usually be issued for the same length of time (i.e. if a candidate’s study program was 18 months, the PGWP would be valid for 18 months).  If the study program was two years or more in duration, a PGWP may be issued for three years. Three years is the maximum duration of a PGWP.

The candidate must hold a valid study permit at the moment of the submission of his or her application. In addition, the application must be submitted within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that the candidate has completed his or her studies (i.e. 90 days after graduation). Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) calculates 90 days from the receipt of final marks, or the receipt of formal written notification that the candidate has completed the study program, whichever comes first. Study permits become invalid 90 days after graduation, regardless of the expiration date printed on the study permit itself. In order to remain legally in Canada, a graduate should update his or status with IRCC within 90 days of finishing the study program.

Candidates can submit their application online or by mail to IRCC.

To consult the current processing time estimate, click here. Select the option Temporary application and then "Work permit extension - new employer".

Yes. The current total fee is $255 CAD. This is comprised of two parts: $155 CAD for the work permit fee, and an additional $100 CAD for the Open Work Permit Holder fee.

No. There is no requirement to obtain a PGWP if the graduate does not intend to remain and work in Canada.

Any diploma from a recognized Canadian educational institution may be used in an application for a PGWP, as long as the candidate meets all the eligibility criteria. A diploma from a program shorter than eight months is not eligible.

A candidate must hold a diploma from one of the following institutions to be eligible for a PGWP:

  • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec),
  • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions,
  • a private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP, in English Diploma of Vocational Studies, or DVS) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (Attestation of Professional Specialisation, ASP), or
  • a Canadian private institution authorized to grant degrees, if the student is enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree, as authorized by the province.

The applicant will need to submit his or her passport or travel document, payment or proof of payment, and proof of successful completion of a study program. Further documents that may be required, depending on the applicant’s situation and accompanying family members, if applicable.

No. The PGWP remains valid if the holder leaves Canada. Holders of a PGWP can return to Canada and work at any time as long as the PGWP is valid.

A PGWP cannot be renewed beyond the maximum duration allowed according to the holder’s study program. When a PGWP is about to expire, the holder must apply for a different permit or visa if he or she wishes to continue working in Canada.

No. Holders of a PGWP can work in any job for any employer, anywhere in Canada.

Yes. A candidate can pursue both programs at the same time. A PGWP is a popular way for graduates to remain in Canada and work while waiting for the application for permanent residence to be processed.

Yes. In some cases, a student at the end of his or her degree may only have one or two courses remaining in his or her program, and therefore will study part-time in the final semester to fulfill the credit requirements of a study program. In this situation, a student is not considered to have failed the stipulation to study full-time and his or her eligibility for the PGWP is not affected.

Yes. However, the PGWP can only be issued for a period equal to the duration of studies in Canada. For example, if a candidate transferred to a Canadian university for the last year of a Bachelor program, he or she could obtain a PGWP with a maximum validity of one year.

Yes. If the spouse wishes to obtain an open work permit, he or she must submit a separate application.  However, in order to obtain an open work permit for an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, the holder of the PGWP must demonstrate that he or she is working in a skilled, managerial, or technical position. In this situation, the spouse needs to submit documents relating to the international graduate's PGWP and employment, along with his or her application for an open work permit for an accompanying spouse.

Yes, children can also apply for a visitor record or a study permit at the same time the graduate applies for a PGWP. Additional fees and documents are required.

Accompanying family members must submit an application for an appropriate permit in order to remain in Canada with the holder of the PGWP. Permits for accompanying family members are usually issued for the same length of time as the PGWP, or for the duration of validity of the candidate’s passport, whichever expires first.

Yes. The same eligibility criteria apply to international graduates of Quebec institutions. The PGWP program recognizes programs unique to Quebec education system, as long as the program completed is at least 900 hours in length (which is the equivalent of 8 months). Eligible institutions include public or private secondary schools and private post-secondary schools, as long as they are recognized by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (the Department of Education, Recreation and Sports (MELS)). A PGWP obtained after completing a study program in Quebec is valid throughout Canada.

Contact us with any questions about the Post-Graduation Work Permit, and learn how you can stay and work in Canada once your studies are complete.

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