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Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program allows international students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience.The PGWP holders can work in Canada up to 3 years after completing their studies in a Canadian university, college or post-secondary institution Unlike most of the Canadian work permits, a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit which does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This means a PGWP holder can work for any employer anywhere in Canada without a job offer. 

International students can gain valuable work experience which is very important when they apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility Requirements

An international student must

  • Be 18 yers of age or older
  • Have completed your study program in an academic, vocational or professional training program, which leads to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Have graduated from an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
  • Apply within 180 days of graduation
  • Have studied full-time in Canada in a program of at least 8 months.
  • Have a valid temporary residency status at the time of application.

An applicant for PGWP whose study permit has expired during the time of application, must first apply for temporary residence status before attempting to get the work permit. An individual’s temporary residency status will be restored on if it’s applied within 90 days of having lost their status. If your study permit is valid, then you are eligible to work full-time until your application is approved. 

PGWP Supporting Documents

Two important documents are must from your DLI while applying for post-graduation work permit:

  • Official Transcript
  • Letter of completion of the study program

Additional documents may be required by the program officials if needed. 

Does a distance learning program (Overseas) make one eligible for PGWP?

Studying overseas does not make one eligible for obtaining PGWP. But during the coronavirus pandemic, the IRCC placed a special policy which allows international students who completed study programs while overseas be able to obtain a PGWP when they arrive in Canada. The policy is only implemented upon international graduates who meet the following requirements:

  • Enrolled at a Canadian Designated Learning Institution. 
  • have started between spring 2020 and summer 2022, or your program was already in progress in March 2020.
  • have a study permit, OR approval for a study permit, OR apply for a study permit prior to starting your program and are eventually approved.
  • Meet all above PGWP eligibility criteria.  

How long is PGWP valid for?

A post-graduate work permit is valid anywhere between 8 months and 3 years, depending on the applicant’s duration of study in Canada. A PGWP is not issued for a study duration program of less than 8 months. A post-graduate work permit cannot exceed 3 years even if an applicant’s study program is more than 3 years.

PGWP Application Processing Time

The processing time for a Post-Graduate Work Permit application is anywhere between 80 days and 180 days. If an applicant applies before the expiry of the study permit held, the applicant can work full time in Canada while waiting for the PGWP. An applicant has 180 days to apply for the PGWP from the day of studies completion. 

Can i apply for PGWP outside of Canada?

Yes, an applicant can apply for PGWP from overseas. Additional documentation may be required if a PGWP is applied outside of Canada. Applying for Post-Graduation Work Permit was previously allowed only if an applicant is in Canada but now this requirement has been lifted. 

Can i apply for work permit after PGWP?

Yes, an individual can apply for LMIA and LMIA exempt permit if eligible. Though applying for another work permit could be good for an individual but with work experience gained during your post-graduation work, an individual has a high chance of becoming a Canadian permanent resident if applied for, and citizen later.

How many times can i apply for a PGWP?

The IRCC provides PGWP for international graduates only once in a lifetime. No matter how many times you apply, only one PGWP is given (meaning an individual can apply once for a PGWP), so an individual must choose wisely when to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. The longer the study program the longer the PGWP (maximum 3 years), so an individual planning to take another study program you might want to apply for PGWP strategically.

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Got Questions about PGWP? You’re covered.

Yes, if the duration of your permit is not provided at the time of application due to the expiry of your passport, then you can apply for an extension of the PGWP.

Yes, international graduates can legally work in Canada before the expiry of their study permit once applied for a PGWP.

Yes, an individual can hold a skilled job since a PGWP is an open work permit. Nevertheless, there can be some certain restrictions specific to your permit.

No, PGWP is not tied to a specific employer nor does it require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for applicants. PGWP is an open work permit

No, a Post-Graduate Work Permit is only valid until the expiration of your passport.

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