The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit, meaning it allows the student to work for any employer of their choice in Canada and to work for any Canadian employer without needing a job offer. It allows international student graduates to work anywhere in Canada for up to three years.
A major benefit of the PGWP is that it provides international graduates with professional work experience in Canada, which is helpful when PGWP holders go on to apply for Canadian immigration. Generally, a PGWP holder needs to gain one year of professional work experience in a National Occupation Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B to be eligible to apply for a Canadian permanent residence program.
What are the PGWP’s eligibility requirements?
To be eligible for a PGWP, international students must have:
Completed studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program that is at least eight months long at an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
Conducted a study program that led to a degree, diploma, or certificate
Held full-time student status in Canada during every academic session of the program of study and included as part of their post-graduation work permit application
Obtained a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming the applicant has met all requirements to complete their program of study
The student must also have graduated from:
a public post-secondary institution, such as
a trade or technical school
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 and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); (Note: this will no longer be in effect starting September 2023) or;
Canadian private schools can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.
How long is a PGWP valid?
A PGWP will be valid for between eight months and three years, depending on the length of the student's study program. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides the following guidelines on its website:
Completed program under eight months: Not eligible for a PGWP
Completed program between eight months and less than two years: The PGWP will be valid for the same length of your study program (e.g., a 10-month program will result in a 10-month PGWP)
Completed program of two years or more: PGWP will be valid for three years
Completed more than one program: You may be able to combine your Canadian educational programs to get a PGWP as long as the programs are DLI eligible and each over eight months in duration. The total length of the PGWP will correspond to the durations above.
A student must apply for the PGWP within 180 days, or six months, from receiving a transcript and an official letter from the DLI confirming they have met all the requirements to complete the study program.
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