Post Graduate Work Permit - PGWP

A detailed guide to PGWP. 

Post Graduate Work Permit

A PGWP (Post Graduate Work Permit) is an open work permit granted to students who have recently graduated from a DLI (Designated Learning Institute) in Canada. A PGWP allows the foreign national to work with any employer inside Canada.

Glossary of terms used on this page.

What is a Post Graduate Work Permit - PGWP?


A PGWP (Post Graduate Work Permit) is an open work permit granted to students who have recently graduated from a DLI (Designated Learning Institute) in Canada. A PGWP allows the foreign national to work with any employer inside Canada.


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.


Who can apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit?


Foreign Nationals 18 years of age or older who have studied full-time in Canada at a DLI (Designated Learning Institute). The student/ foreign national must have enrolled in an eligible course which is 8 months in duration or longer.


What are the eligibility requirements for a PGWP?


The Applicant must:

  1. Hold a valid temporary (legal) status in Canada at the time of application or have left Canada. This status could be their existing study permit as well.

  2. Graduated from an eligible designated learning institute (DLI).

  3. They have completed an academic, vocational, or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate.

  4. They have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted as part of their post-graduation work permit application.

  5. They have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their program of study. The applicant must include the transcript and official letter in their application package.


Why should I apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit?

  1. A PGWP allows recent graduates to put their recently acquired qualifications to use and make a career/living based on that.

  2. A PGWP helps the foreign national to obtain relevant skilled work experience in NOC 0, A or B jobs. This in turn opens doors for permanent residence in Canada under the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker or applicable Provincial Nominee Programs through the Express Entry system.


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.

What are the eligible levels of study in order to qualify for a PGWP?


The applicant must have enrolled for and graduated from one of the following:

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

  • a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec.

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

  • an ASP can be less than 900 hours if it’s combined with a DEP.

  • a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree), but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.

How long does it take to process a PGWP application?

A PGWP application may take between 80 to 180 days to process. This does not mean that you can not work while you wait for your PGWP application outcome. You are eligible to work in Canada as long as you submitted your PGWP application prior to the expiry of your Study Permit.

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 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

How Can I Avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian  Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply for a PGWP from outside Canada?

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.

How long is a PGWP issued for?

A PGWP is either issued for the duration of your course or a maximum of 3 years from the date of issue.

What do i need to apply for a work permit for Canada?

There are general requirements that all applicants must fulfil, and specific ones they need to fulfil based on the work permit stream they are applying under. The most common ones for a LMIA supported job offer are:

  • your job offer letter
  • your employment contract
  • a copy of the LMIA
  • the LMIA number

My passport is expiring soon, should I renew it before applying for a PGWP?

You will be issued a PGWP that’s only valid until your passport expires. It's best you renew your passport while you are still studying. You can still apply for a PGWP. Since a PGWP is only issued once, IRCC may/will inform you to extend your passport to get the full validity of your PGWP.

Can i renew or extend my work permit?

Yes, as long as, you submit a new application at least 30 days before your work permit expires. You are not allowed to extend your work permit beyond your passport's expiry date.

What is the age limit to apply for a Canadian work permit?

You must be at least 18 years of age.

Can i renew or extend my PGWP?

NO. PGWP's are specific to duration. But, during COVID-19, a public policy was issued to facilitate the renewal of PGWP's. Please check to see if you qualify, before you apply.

I have a Study in Canada scholorship, can i still apply for a PGWP?

Yes, you are still eligible to apply as long as you meet other requirements.

I completed my study program in a shorter duration than the length of the program, will my PGWP be valid for a lesser duration?

If you complete your study program in less time than the normal length of the program, you may be eligible for a PGWP valid for the full length of your program.

For example, if you complete a 1 year study program in 8 months, you may be able to get a PGWP valid for 1 year.

More than 50% of my course was or will be completed through distance learning. How does that affect my PGWP?

If more than 50% of your course is completed though distance learning, you are not eligibe for a PGWP. If less than 50% of your course is completed though distance learning, you may be eligible for a PGWP. The duration of your PGWP will be the same as the duration of the length of your program, including both in-class and distance courses.

Will my distance learning courses completed outside Canada be included in the length of my PGWP?

No, any distance learning courses completed outside Canada will not be included in the length of the PGWP.

Will my course duration at a non-DLI institute be counted towards my PGWP when i transfer to a DLI?

No. Any duration spent at a non-DLI will not be counted towards your PGWP. Remember, you have to finish a minimum of 8 months at a DLI as a full-time student in order to be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

My Canadian study program has an overseas component, how does that affect my PGWP?

You may be eligible for a PGWP as long as you earn a credit from a Canadian school for it. The PGWP will only be valid for the length of the time you studied in Canada.