Canada Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP)

Update: International student graduates will no longer need to remain in Canada while their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is in process. International students who were approved for a study permit on or before March 18th are exempt from travel restrictions. If in-person courses were moved to an online format in response to COVID-19, international students will still be eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program.  For example, If the students have a study permit or were approved for a program starting in May/June, but unable to travel to Canada amid travel restrictions. International students in this situation can begin their classes online and may complete up to half of their program while abroad if they cannot travel to Canada sooner.


As of February 21, 2020 graduates who are eligible to work full time without a work permit will be able to maintain their ability to work legally in Canada even if they leave and re-enter the country. International students must apply for their PGWP before their study permit expires in order to be allowed to work full time.

Starting your Canadian studies online in fall 2020 can make you eligible to work in Canada. It can also improve your chances of obtaining permanent residence under Express Entry, the PNP, or other immigration programs.

Canada’s new policy will allow students to begin their Canadian education online in fall 2020, and still, be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit after their studies.

International students can work while they are studying in Canada, and also obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after their educational program has been completed.


Even if you are unable to travel to Canada in time for the start of your program in the fall, you can still begin the program online and remain eligible for the PGWP.


Online learning in fall 2020 will make studying in Canada more affordable because of:

  • Weak Canadian Dollar;

  • Savings on Living Expenses by Studying Online

Advantages of PGWP:

  • allows a graduate in Canada to work for up to three years after completing their studies;

  • gives the opportunity to earn highly desired and sought after “North American work experience;

  • the mentioned experience is a huge advantage when submitting an immigration application if one decides to permanently stay and work in Canada (you get additional CRS points for Canadian education and experience);

  • if she/he decides to leave the country, the gained education and work experience make them more competitive in the job market.

What is a post-graduation work permit?

The post-graduation work permit allows students to graduate from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to obtain Canadian work experience. A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) gives you permission to work full time in Canada for up to three years. The length of the work permit depends on the length of your program. A job offer is not required in order to apply and working in a specific field is not a must. A post-graduation work permit may be issued based on the length of the study program for a minimum of 8 months up to a maximum of 3 years.

The work subsequently obtained through the PGWPP may help support your application to become a Canadian Permanent Resident.

Skilled Canadian work experience in the national occupational code A, O or B that is gained through the PGWPP helps graduates to qualify for Canadian permanent residence through the Canadian experience class, within Express Entry.


Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility requirements

Only 1 post-graduation work permit in the lifetime is allowed.

Within 180 days of the date of applying for the post-graduation work permit, applicants must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • They have a valid study permit;

  • They had a study permit;

  • They were authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit under paragraphs 188(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.


To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:

Completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months and obtained a degree, diploma or certificate;

Studied full-time each academic session (excludes scheduled breaks), with two exceptions:

 1. You studied part-time in your final academic session only

 2. You took an authorized gap in studies for less than 150 days

In addition, you must:

  • Apply within 90 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available AND have a valid study permit at the time of application, OR

  • Apply within 180 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available, AND have previously held a valid study permit, and one of the following:

  • Applied for visitor status before your study permit became invalid

  • Applied to restore your temporary resident status

  • Applied from outside of Canada


Why should You apply?

A PGWPP is an amazing way to advance your professional goals and obtain valuable work experience, which you might assist You to qualify for permanent residence.


If you are eligible to work in your final term, you can continue working up to 20 hours a week off-campus and/or full time on campus. Once the Letter of Completion is issued, you must stop working immediately, since you are not eligible to work anymore.


How to apply?

Your study permit will become invalid 90 (ninety) days after your Letter of Completion is available, or the study permit expiration date, whichever comes first.

If your study permit expires within the 90 days after your Letter of Completion becomes available, you will need to apply to extend your study permit for an additional 90-day bridging period three to four months before your study permit expires.

Having a valid study permit at the time of application is one of the requirements to be eligible to work full-time after submitting your PGWP application online.

If you must provide biometrics information, apply for your work permit earlier to allow for this extra step.


After you’ve applied

Check if you are eligible to begin working full-time while you are waiting for a decision from IRCC.



Post-graduation work permits are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments. They are considered open and coded “C43”.


With a post-graduation work permit graduates can:


  • work full-time

  • work part-time

  • be self-employed

The validity period of the post-graduation work permit may not go beyond the applicant’s passport validity date.


If the student is enrolled in a program of study that is normally 1 year, but the student manages to complete the requirements for the program of study within 8 months, she/he may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit that is valid for 1 year.


Distance learning can be considered online learning. Students who complete a program of study exclusively by distance learning (outside or within Canada) are not eligible for a post-graduation work permit. If less than 50% of the program of study’s total courses are completed by distance learning, a post-graduation work permit may be issued.

When to apply for PGWPP?

Applicants must apply for a work permit within 180 days of receiving written confirmation (such as an official letter or transcript) from the educational institution indicating that they have met the requirements for completing their program of study. Calculation of 180 days begins the day the student’s final marks are issued or the day formal written notification of program completion is received, whichever comes first. The onus is on the applicant to provide proof of the date the transcript is received. Officers may also confirm this date with the educational institution.


The applicant may apply for a post-graduation work permit from within Canada if their study permit is still valid. If the applicant’s study permit is no longer valid, and they wish to remain in Canada, they must apply for visitor status before their study permit expires.


Foreign nationals may apply for a post-graduation work permit from overseas.

Spouses and common-law partners of post-graduation work permit holders may be eligible to apply for an open work permit under the C41 exemption.


Applicants should not apply for a TRV until they have received their post-graduation work permit, as the TRV is issued only for the length of the applicant’s current status document or travel document, whichever has the earlier expiry date.

For post-graduation work permit applications submitted from outside Canada, a TRV is issued upon approval of the post-graduation work permit.

For post-graduation work permit applications submitted from within Canada, a TRV is not issued upon approval of the application. The applicant must submit a separate TRV application if their TRV has expired, and they would like to travel outside Canada and return.

How to proceed?

3 simple and easy steps:

1. Email us Your issue and any documentation that you consider relevant


2. We review your documents and appoint a consultant/lawyer to contact you with the brief assessment


3. You decide whether to proceed.

If you require in-person consultation, please email us to schedule an appointment.


All our cases are handled by experienced lawyers and RCIC immigration specialists.


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