The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

A work permit under the PGWPP may be issued for a maximum of three years. How long the post-graduation work permit is valid for depends on the length of your study program. You may only apply for this work permit once. For more information, refer to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Who is eligible to participate?

You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

To be eligible, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days. You must also have:

  • completed a study program:
    • at a designated learning institution
    • that was at least 8 months long and
    • that led to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program (except your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took a leave from studies)
  • graduated from a:
    • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university, or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province

Applicants must apply for a work permit within 180 days of receiving written confirmation from the educational institution indicating that they have met the requirements for completing their program of study.

Note: When paying your fees, you must pay the “Open work permit holder” fee in addition to the standard fee. Find out more about the required fees.

Woking while your PGWP is being processed

You can work full-time until a decision is made on your work permit application if you:

  • had a valid study permit when you submitted your application
  • completed your study program
  • were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit while studying and you didn’t work more hours than you were allowed to

If these don’t apply to you, you must wait until your work permit arrives to begin your new job. It’s illegal to work in Canada without a permit.

If your PGWP application was refused, you must stop working the day you receive notification of refusal.

Travelling outside Canada while awaiting your PGWP

You can leave Canada and return, as long as your visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is still valid. If your visa or eTA is expired, you will have to apply for and receive a new one before you leave.

A border officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. If the officer believes there is reason to refuse your re-entry, you will not be able to re-enter Canada.  The officer at the port of entry may ask you for a copy of your extension application, the fee payment receipt, and any other document to prove you applied for an extension.

For more information, refer to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.