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 and this work permit may not be extended. For more information, refer to the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Who is eligible to participate?

To obtain a work permit under the PGWPP, the applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • have a valid study permit when applying for the work permit;
  • have continuously studied full time in Canada (i.e., studies must have taken place at a Canadian educational institution) and have completed a program of study that is at least eight months in duration;
  • have completed and passed the program of study and received a written notification from the educational institution indicating that they are eligible to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate. The educational institution must be one of the following:

    • a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade or technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec);
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions;
    • a private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS); or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees (i.e., bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate), but only if the student is enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree, as authorized by the province, and not in just any program of study offered by the private institution.

Applicants must apply for a work permit within 90 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.

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.

When you return to Canada:

  • You may enter as student if your study permit is still valid.
  • If your post-graduate work permit was approved while you were away, you may enter as a worker.
  • If your post-graduate application is still processing, you may enter as a visitor. You can’t work until you get your post-graduation work permit. The officer at the port of entry may ask you to prove you have enough money to support yourself in Canada.

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.