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Working in Canada after graduation under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)


As an international student, if you want to stay on in Canada to work upon completing your studies, you must apply for a work permit. Currently, international students can apply for a Post-graduation Work Permit (PGWP) under the Post-graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) after graduating from participating Canadian post-secondary institutions to stay on in Canada to seek employment in any industry PGWP is an open work permit and this means that a Canadian job offer is not required at the time of application.

To be eligible for PGWP, you must have fulfilled the following requirements:-

  • You have studied full time in Canada in a program that is at least eight months in length.
  • You must graduate from either
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as pubic institutions, or
    • 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) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle(ASP), or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statue to confer degrees but only if you are enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution.
  • You must apply for this work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (e.g. transcript or official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your academic program and are eligible to obtain your degree, diploma or certificate.
  • You must have a valid study permit when you apply for this open work permit.

Special note:- If you have graduated from a vocational or professional training program at a public or private secondary institution in Quebec, regulated by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), you may be eligible to apply for a PGWP upon fulling the following requirements:-
  • You must be at least 18 years old at the time of application.
  • You must have a valid study permit at the time of application.
  • You must have completed a full time program that lasted 900 hours or longer leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles(DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle(ASP).
  • You must apply for your PGWP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (e.g. transcript or official letter) from your institution indicating that you have met the requirements for completing your program.
  • You must provide a supporting letter from your institution outlining the duration of studies and the program code.

What you need to know about PGWP


PGWP is not longer than your official length of your program of study in Canada and the length of PGWP is between 8 months and 3 years depending the official length of your program of study.

This is how PGWP works:-

If the official length of your program of study is
  • at least 8 months (2 full-time semesters)
    • you may be eligible for a PGWP with a validity of 8 months
  • less than 2 years but more than 8 months
    • you may be eligible for a PGWP with a validity of no longer than the length of your program of study
      • e.g. the official length of your program of study is 12 months (3 full-time semesters), you may be eligible for a PGWP with a validity of 12 months
  • two years or more
    • you may be eligible for a PGWP with a validity of the maximum 3 years
  • if you have completed a 1 year program of study from a participating Canadian post-secondary institutions within two years of graduating from a previous participating Canadian post-secondary institutions, you may still qualify for a PGWP with a validity of 3 year. 
However, you will not be eligible for PGWP if any of the following describe your situation:-
  • You have studied in a program that is less than eight months long.
  • You are a participant in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).
  • You are a participant in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFATD.
  • You have received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
  • You are a participant in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile.
  • You are a participant in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program.
  • You are a participant in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program.
  • You are a participant in a distance learning program either from abroad or from within Canada.
  • You have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit following any other program of study.

Applying for Canadian Permanent Residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC)


With the skilled Canadian work experience gained through the PGWPP, your Canadian post-secondary education as well as your familiarity with the Canadian society, you may be eligible to apply to stay and work in Canada as a permanent residence under the CEC.

Since January 2015, a new system 'Express Entry' has been in place for application to CEC and the minimum requirements are as follows:-
  • You have at least 12 months full-time (i.e. 30 hours/week for 12 months) or an equal amount in part-time (i.e. 15 hours/week for 24 months or 30 hours/week for 12 months at more than one job) of skilled work experience* in Canada in the 3 years before application.
  • You have gained your experience in Canada with the proper authorization to work in Canada.
  • You have met the required language levels needed for your job in speaking, reading, writing and listening with a language test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
  • You plan to live outside the province of Quebec.
* skilled work experience according to the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) means
    - Managerial jobs (NOC skill level 0) - restaurant managers, human resource managers, finance managers
    - Professional jobs (NOC skill type A) - doctors, engineers , architects
    - Technical jobs and skilled trades (NOC skill type B) - chefs, electricians, plumbers

** minimum language ability
    - Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 for NOC 0 or A jobs