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Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada 2023: The Ultimate Guide

The post-graduation work permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international students who graduate from Canadian programs of study to work for any employer, for as many hours as they want, anywhere in the country.

A PGWP is valid for eight months to three years, and it is a great way to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Once in Canada, an applicant will have many opportunities to obtain permanent residence.

What is a post-graduate work permit?

A post-graduate work permit (PGWP) allows you to stay and work in Canada after you graduate from a designated Canadian post-secondary institution. To be eligible, you must have studied full-time in Canada for at least eight months and graduated with a valid diploma or degree.

Once you have your PGWP, you can work anywhere in Canada, except for Quebec which has its own separate program. The good news is that there is no limit on the number of hours you can work per week and no restrictions on the type of job or employer. This means you can gain valuable Canadian work experience to help launch your career.

The length of your PGWP will depend on the length of your studies. If you studied for eight months or more but less than two years, your PGWP will be valid for the same length of time as your studies. For example, if you studied for 10 months, you’ll get a 10-month PGWP. If you studied for two years or more, your PGWP will be valid for three years.

It’s important to note that your PGWP cannot be extended and once it expires, you will need to leave Canada unless you qualify for another type of visa or immigration program.

Some Facts about PGWP

  • The duration of a post-graduation work permit can range from eight months to three years.
  • PGWPs are not granted for longer than the applicant’s study period in Canada.
  • As a general rule, the PGWP will last approximately the same length of time as the applicant’s study period, up to a maximum of three years.
  • If you attend more than 50% of your classes in person, you are eligible for a PGWP equal to the length of your program.
  • The length of your PGWP will be the same as the length of your program of study if you took it full-time.

Eligibility Criteria for PGWP Canada

To be eligible for a PGWP in Canada, you must:

1. Have graduated from a designated Canadian post-secondary institution
2. Have completed an academic, professional, or vocational training program of at least 8 months duration
3. Have maintained full-time student status throughout your studies, except during regularly scheduled breaks (e.g. winter and summer holidays)
4. Apply for your PGWP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from your institution that you have met all the requirements for completing your program of study
5. Hold a valid study permit when you apply for your PGWP

If you meet the above criteria, congratulations! You are now eligible to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit in Canada.

How long does it take to get a PGWP?

While waiting for your PGWP, you are free to work in Canada if you applied before the expiration date of your student permit.

Upon completion of all requirements for your program of study, you have 180 days to apply for your PGWP.

After your studies have been completed, you can now apply for a PGWP from overseas. Prior to this, applications for a post-graduation work permit had to be submitted exclusively from within Canada. PGWP applications submitted from outside of Canada may require additional documentation, depending on the visa office that processes them.

Can I work after graduation before I apply for my PGWP?

Students who apply for a PGWP before their study permit expires will be able to legally work in Canada. While they wait for a decision on their application for a PGWP, these candidates do not need a Canadian work permit. Upon expiration of your student permit, you may still be eligible to apply if you haven’t been out of status for more than 90 days.

How many times can I apply for a PGWP?

It is only possible for you to apply for a PGWP once. If you are considering taking another program of study that is a continuation of your first program or a longer degree program in Canada, you may want to apply for your PGWP strategically. If you apply after the longest period of study, your PGWP will have a longer validity period, of a maximum of three years.

How a PGWP can help you immigrate to Canada

The Post Graduation Work Program in Canada offers an advantageous route for international students to acquire permanent residence. It enables them to build a bridge from Canadian academia to real-world work experience, and this can be used as a foundation for entry into the Express Entry immigration system. With a Canadian academic background and practical experience, applicants can gain added points for their Comprehensive Ranking System score, leading to increased chances of obtaining permanent resident status.


Contact us or complete a free online assessment to get started on your Canadian immigration plans with the Cougar Immigration Law Firm.

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