Post-Graduation Work Permit is one of the ways that allow international students wanting to stay in Canada to gain permanent residency.

Canada is one of the dream study destinations for numerous International students throughout the world and Canada tasks great pride in the fact that many international students come to a Canadian (DLI) designated learning institution to further their education.

However, it does not end there. Besides the fact that many students come to study in Canada, the country takes even more pride in the fact that many students want to stay in Canada after their Graduation. It was revealed through the survey of the (CBIE) Canadian Bureau of International Education for 2022, that 59.4% of the respondent wanted to gain permanent residency in Canada after their graduation.

Due to this desire of international students, the Canadian government has introduced many ways for them to achieve this goal. One such method towards gaining permanent residency in Canada’s (PGWP) Post-Graduation Work Permit program which provides graduate students with an open work permit enabling them to continue working in Canada for a maximum of 3 years after their graduation during which time they can work under any employer of their choosing without an existing job offer at the time of application.

Requirements to be eligible for PGWP

To be eligible for PGWP the applicant must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Completed studies at an eligible DLI in an academic, vocational, or professional training program (minimum eight months in length) that leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate

  • Received a transcript and an official letter confirming they have met the requirements to complete their program

  • Held full-time student status in Canada during every academic session of the program or programs of study completed and included as part of their post-graduation work permit application (note below)

  • Graduated from a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, a trade or technical school, a university, 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); or a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province)

Quebec notes: applicants who have graduated from vocational and professional training programs in Quebec have additional requirements that they must meet for the PGWP which are highlighted by the IRCC and can vary depending on the type of diploma issued.


PGWP eligibility for distance learning

During the covid pandemic, many countries including Canada decided to close their borders and students could not physically be present to study in Canada the government had decided that  Students studying at a DLI through distance learning can still be eligible for a PGWP if they fulfill all other requirements.

 The IRCC has set several date-specific exceptions to the typical eligibility requirements such as the following:

  • August 31st, 2022: International students who study online from abroad or submit a study permit application before this date can complete all their studies online and remain PGWP-eligible

  • September 1st, 2023: Starting from this date, study time completed abroad “will be deducted from the length of international student’s PGWP regardless of when the international student began their studies”

PGWP application process

All candidate hopefuls for the PGWP, after receiving their official transcript and letter confirming program completion are given 6 months to submit their applications.

The process after receiving the above documentation, which must be included in the application itself is fairly easy. In fact, most of the tasks left revolve around simply gathering the documents mentioned on the Canadian government’s website.

The documents are as follows:

  • A degree or diploma

  • An official letter from your school

  • An official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website

Note: IRCC may request additional documents when an application is received

Once this step is complete, applicants can proceed to apply for their PGWP either online or on paper, if necessary. Application steps will vary based on whether the PGWP hopeful is applying from within or outside of Canada.

It is crucial to note that applicants must prove they either currently hold a valid study permit, have held a study permit in the past, or have been authorized to study in Canada without one. If an applicant’s current study permit is set to expire, they can either apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer or depart Canada and apply for a PGWP from abroad.

Crucial information about the PGWP

  • International graduates are required to submit two key documents for the PGWP program along with their application: a letter and an official transcript confirming completion of a program of study at a DLI.

  • In accordance with the IRCC guidelines, the length of a PWGP’s validity will vary depending on the length of the applicant’s educational program.

If the completed program lasted:

  • Under eight months: Applicant is not eligible for a PGWP

  • More than eight months but less than two years: The validity of the applicant’s PGWP will match program length (16-month program equals 16-month PGWP)

  • Over two years: The validity of the applicant’s PGWP will be three years

Moreover, applicants may also be able to combine earned PGWPs together if they have completed more than one (minimum eight-month) program.

How a PGWP is a step toward gaining permanent residency

People who are PGWP holders generally have a higher chance of gaining permanent residents since it allows successful applicants to gain professional work experience several Canadian immigration programs look favorably upon PR applicants so it puts them in an advantageous position when applying for (PR).

Using PGWP to stay in Canada after Graduation

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