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.
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.
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. However, applicants who apply for a PGWP prior to the expiration of their study permit are eligible to begin working full time immediately, while their application is processing. Applicants may apply for a PGWP from overseas.
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-graduate 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.