Libertas Immigration

Post-Graduate Work Permit in Canada

Discover the opportunities available for international students in Canada and learn how to get a PGWP.

As an international student who has graduated from an eligible program at a post-secondary institution in Canada, you have the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience through the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program (PGWPP).

The PGWPP allows most international students who have successfully completed an eligible program to obtain a work permit. This work permit enables you to work in Canada for a specific period, giving you an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience, which can then help you apply for permanent residence in Canada.

Benefits of PGWP:

Recent changes to the PGWPP have made it even more appealing for international graduates:

If your program of study is at least two years long, you can now obtain a three-year work permit (previously, permits were granted for one or two years, depending on location).

New graduates can work in any field, not just in their field of study.

The requirement to have a job offer has been removed for most applicants. However, some post-graduate-specific Provincial Nomination Programs may still require a valid job offer.

Eligibility Criteria for the PGWP

  • Full-time Study: You must have studied full-time for at least eight months before completing your program and have graduated.
  • Eligible Institution: You must have graduated from a public post-secondary institution (a college, university or CEGEP (in Quebec)), a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions and receives at least 50 percent of its financing from government grants, or a Canadian private institution authorized to confer degrees.
  • Apply within 90 Days: You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (a transcript or an official letter) of meeting your program’s academic requirements.
  • Program Completion: You must have completed and passed the program of study and received a notification of eligibility to obtain your degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Valid Study Permit: You must have a valid study permit when you apply for a work permit.
Important to note: If your program of study is less than two years but at least eight months, you are still eligible for a post-graduate work permit. However, the validity period of the work permit must not exceed the duration of your program at a particular post-secondary institution in Canada.

Not Eligible for the PGWP:

  • Completed a program less than 8 months long.
  • Participated in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program or a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  • Received funding from the Canadian International Development Agency for a distance learning program.
  • Already obtained a post-graduation work permit after any other program of study in Canada.
  • Completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada.

Provincial Nomination Programs for International Graduates Who Have Completed Studies Inside That Province:

If you wish to transition to permanent status in Canada, several provinces offer Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) tailored to international students who have completed their studies within that province:

If you complete a master’s degree or a doctoral degree at an eligible institution in Ontario, you can apply for provincial nomination through this stream. Interested graduates may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) profile to Ontario’s pool of candidates for the chance to be invited to apply for nomination.

If you complete a post-secondary educational credential in Manitoba, you might be eligible for an immigration pathway under their Career Employment Pathway. Your educational program must have been at least one year in length and completed within the last three years. Candidates must have a full-time job offer from an eligible Manitoba employer in one of the province’s in-demand occupations.

If you complete a master’s degree or a doctoral degree at an eligible institution in British Columbia, you can use this stream to apply directly for a provincial nomination. The advantage of this stream is that it doesn’t require a job offer to apply.

While not technically considered a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) is another option for international students wishing to transition to permanent status in Canada. The program, which was recently made permanent after starting as a pilot, hosts a stream, especially for international graduates
that have graduated from an educational institution in one of the four Atlantic provinces.

AIP is aimed at recent graduates who have completed a qualifying program of at least 2 years in one of the Atlantic provinces. Qualifying graduates must also hold a job offer in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador. The benefit of this program is that eligible international graduates are not required to meet the work experience requirements. This allows qualifying candidates to apply right after graduating before they even start working.

PNP for International Graduates Who Have Completed Studies Outside the Province:

All of these programs require you to have two things. First, you’ll need your valid post-graduation work permit. Second, you’ll need to be working for an employer in the province where you’re applying. The employer must also be willing to provide you with an official offer of employment to continue working there.

If you graduated from a post-secondary program in Canada and you have a valid job offer from an Ontario employer, then you might be eligible for this PNP. Your Canadian education must have been for a program of study at least 2-years in length or a 1-year program that required a previous degree as a prerequisite.

If you completed a post-secondary program anywhere in Canada and you currently have an offer of employment from a company in British Columbia, then this program  might be an option for you.

If you’ve completed a post-secondary program of at least two years, anywhere in Canada, but you’re currently working in Newfoundland and Labrador, you may be eligible to apply for provincial nomination through this program. Newfoundland and Labrador offers the program for graduates that have been working in their province for at least one year on a post-graduate work permit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is a type of work permit that allows international students who have completed an eligible program at a post-secondary institution in Canada to work in the country for a specific period.

The duration of a PGWP depends on the length of the study program. Recent changes allow for a three-year work permit if the program of study is at least two years long. For programs less than two years but at least eight months, the validity period of the work permit cannot exceed the program’s duration.

Yes, after gaining at least one year of work experience, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class or specific post-graduate Provincial Nomination Programs.

Yes, you can travel outside Canada while holding a valid PGWP. However, ensure that you have the necessary travel documents, such as a valid passport and travel visa (if applicable), to re-enter Canada.

You can work full-time with a PGWP, allowing you to gain valuable work experience in Canada. There are no restrictions on part-time or full-time work hours.

If your program of study is less than eight months in duration, you will not be eligible for a PGWP. The program must be at least eight months long to qualify for the work permit.