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Post-graduation Work Permit

If you graduated or are about to graduate from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada, you may qualify for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

If you need help with applying to the PGWP program, our lawyers are here for you. Call us today on 0330 127 1517 or chat with us online to learn more about our services.

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    When it comes to obtaining a Canada visa or permit, IAS Canada immigration lawyers are well-equipped to help you.

    With IAS’ track record of successfully helping clients visit or immigrate to Canada successfully, we can help you achieve your goal.

    Our dedicated immigration lawyers provide our services through a comprehensive and personalised approach. With IAS, you enjoy:

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    Regardless of what your Canadian immigration query might be, IAS is here to help and support you. Call us or enquire online to learn more about how we can help you.

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    What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

    A PGWP is an open work permit given to international students by the Canadian Government that allows them to remain in Canada and work after a Canadian study program completion. Like a regular open work permit, the PGWP allow holders to work for any employer anywhere in Canada.

    Unlike some work permits, the PGWP does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) and they do not require a job offer to apply for one. There is no cap on the number of hours they can work, they can work full-time or part-time or decide to be self-employed.

    Through the PGWP program, skilled Canadian work experience gained in a certain skill level or skill type can help a graduate qualify for permanent residence.

    Graduation day

    How long is a PGWP?

    The length of a PGWP depends on the official length of the study program as shown on the program completion letter issued by the applicant’s learning institution, and will generally last between eight months to three years.

    In determining the length of the PGWP available to applicants, the following considerations apply:

    • If the length of their study program was between eight months and two years, they may be eligible for a work permit that is valid for the same length as that of their study period.
    • If the length of the study program was 2 years or more, they may be eligible for a 3-year work permit.
    • If they completed multiple programs, they may be eligible for a work permit whose validity period is a sum of the length of the study periods, provided the programs are at least eight months in length and eligible for a PGWP.
    • In addition, they must complete the second program within two years of completing the first program.

    International students who studied for less than eight months are not eligible for a PGWP. A PGWP can only be obtained once. Therefore, if applicants once held a PGWP and returned for a PGWP-eligible program of study, they would no longer be eligible for another.

    Applicants’ passport expiry date directly impacts the PGWP period they get regardless of the work permit period they are eligible for. Therefore, it is good practice to ensure their passports’ validity date is longer than the PGWP validity period they may be eligible for.

    Student on university steps

    What are the eligibility requirements for a PGWP?

    Applicants must meet the following conditions to apply for a PGWP:

    • They must have applied to extend their valid study permit before it expired or applied to change to visitor status before the study permit expired and not received a decision regarding their application.
    • They must have graduated from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) and studied a course that is eligible for a PGWP.
    • The study program must have led to a certificate, degree or diploma and must be at least eight months long.
    • They must have maintained full-time status during each semester of their study program in Canada. This does not include the final semester or times they took an approved leave from study).
    • Graduates who studied part-time only in their final academic session are eligible.
    • Applicants who had to stop studying or switch to part-time studies due to the COVID-19 impacts during their study period may still be eligible for a PGWP.
    • They must have completed at least 50% of their study program in Canada and in person.
    • They must show proof, such as a transcript, degree, diploma or letter from their school, showing that they completed their program requirements.
    • They must submit a PGWP application within 180 days after they have completed all the requirements of their program of study.
    • If the study permit expires for graduates inside Canada, they can:
      • Apply for a visitor record which gives them a visitor status and extends their stay in Canada. The visitor record does not replace a visa.
      • Leave Canada and apply for a PGWP.
    • If their study permit expires while in Canada, they must first apply to restore their status as students before they can apply for a PGWP.

    If their study permit expires while in Canada, they must first apply to restore their status as students before they can apply for a PGWP.

    • A Canadian private institution that is authorised to award degrees under provincial law (for example, an Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree), but only if applicants are enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorised by the province.
    • This may not include all programs of study offered by the private institution.
    • A public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade or technical institution, university or a General and Professional Teaching College (CEGEP) located in Quebec.
    • A private post-secondary institution in Quebec operating under the same rules as public institutions in Quebec.
    • A private or public secondary or post-secondary institution in Quebec that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS), or an Attestation of Vocational Specialisation (AVS). An AVS which is less than 900 hours is acceptable if combined with a DVS.
    Students walking around on graduation day

    Find out how we can assist with your PGWP application.

    How can I apply for a PGWP?


    The main steps to a PGWP application are as follows:

    • Gather all required documents – This includes proof that the applicants met their program requirements and completed it, a valid passport and other relevant documents.
    • Start application – Except the applicant is applying for a PGWP extension, in which case they have to apply on paper, an online application is preferred and has its advantages which include the following:
      • Instant receipt of the application by the Canadian Government.
      • Applicants can easily submit additional documents if requested.
      • Applications are processed faster.
      • Applicants can easily complete each step and get instant updates regarding their applications.

    Depending on if applicants are applying from within Canada or outside and if they intend to make an online or paper application, the steps to apply for a PGWP vary.

    Happy graduate

    Steps to apply for a PGWP inside Canada

    • Make sure you have a scanner or a camera to create electronic copies of your required documents and a valid debit or credit card for payments.
    • Read the instruction guide to know how to complete each field on the form.
    • Answer the questions posed by the online tool so that a personalised checklist can be created for you.
    • Pay the processing fee for you and anyone you include in your application. Also, ensure you pay the open work permit holder fee and the work permit fee.
    • Create an account or sign in if you already have an account on the IRCC website. You can submit your application, pay the required fees and check your status with the account.

    Steps to apply for a PGWP outside Canada

    The same steps outlined above for online applicants in Canada apply to those applying online outside Canada too.

    Depending on their situation, they may have to pay third-party fees to appropriate service providers for third-party services such as medical exams, police certificates and services requested at a Visa Application Centre.

    The steps to applying for a PGWP outside Canada on paper are as follows:

    • Check if you are eligible to apply on paper. If eligible, get the application package which contains the instruction guide and all the forms you need to fill out.
    • Fill out the forms carefully and completely, and attach all requested documents.
    • Pay the necessary fees online. These include the processing fee for you and those included in your application, the biometrics fee if applicable, the open work permit holder fee, and the work permit fee.
    • Use the instruction guide to determine which fees apply to you and how to pay them.
    • Submit your application fee at the address specified in the application package.

    Documents required for a PGWP application

    Applicants must submit the following documents when applying for a PGWP:

    • An online application form.
    • Proof that they completed their studies. This may be:
      • A degree or diploma from your school.
      • An official letter from the school such as a program completion letter.
      • A copy of the final transcript from the school.
    • A valid passport.
    • Travel documents.
    • Documents which show the details of your study such as:
      • Part-time study.
      • Gaps in study.
      • Combined programs.
      • Accelerated learning.

    More documents might be requested by the visa office while processing your application if the need arises.


    Call us for further assistance with your Canadian immigration matter.

    How Can IAS Help?

    If you have any questions regarding the PGWP or you need help with a PGWP application or refusal, our lawyers are available to help.

    We are a team of expert immigration lawyers with years of experience in Canadian immigration law. We can assist you with any Canadian immigration or work permit issues.

    Get in touch with us today on 0333 305 9375, or contact us through our form online to get prompt help with your situation.

    We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    You can extend your PGWP only if your passport expired before the validity period of your PGWP and it has been indicated in your initial PGWP.

    You can then apply to extend your work permit with your new passport. If your application is approved, you will receive a new PGWP with the conditions and validity date modified.

    The Express Entry system is an immigration system that allows international graduates who have gained valuable Canadian work experience in eligible occupations to apply for permanent residence.

    Graduates who have had a year or more of work experience may apply to immigration programs they are eligible for under the Express Entry system.

    If you gain Canadian work experience, you may apply to the following programs:

    • Canadian Experience Class.
    • Provincial Nominee Program.
    • Federal Skilled Workers Program.
    • Quebec Immigration programs.

    Suppose you have applied for a new permit such as a PGWP before the expiry date of your visa. In that case, you may remain in Canada on a temporary resident visa until a decision has been made on your new permit application.

    While waiting for your PGWP, you may work if you have a valid study permit and are eligible to work off-campus without a permit for a maximum of 20 hours during academic sessions.

    Once your letter of completion becomes available, you must stop working immediately and wait till a decision is made on your PGWP application. The official date your letter of completion becomes available is different from that of your graduation ceremony or diploma.

    If your PGWP request is refused, you must stop working immediately when notified. It is highly recommended that you contact an immigration expert to analyse the reasons indicated in the rejection letter. With the help of an immigration expert, you can ensure a strong case is made while re-applying to get your PGWP approved.

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