Post Graduate FAQ's

What is a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

A PGWP is an open work permit available to international graduates from eligible Canadian educational institutions. It allows the holder to work for any employer anywhere in Canada.

What are the eligibility criteria for a PGWP?

The PGWP program is open to candidates holding an eligible diploma from a recognized Canadian educational institution. The candidate must have studied full-time in Canada for at least eight months preceding the application. Candidates who have completed a study program shorter than eight months in duration are not eligible for the PGWP.

When is a PGWP required?

A graduate from a Canadian college or university must apply for a PGWP if he or she intends to remain and work in Canada.

How long does the PGWP last?

The PGWP can be valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the graduate’s program of study. If the study program was between eight months and two years in duration, the PGWP will usually be issued for the same length of time (i.e. if a candidate’s study program was 18 months, the PGWP would be valid for 18 months). If the study program was two years or more in duration, a PGWP may be issued for three years. Three years is the maximum duration of a PGWP.

When can a PGWP application be submitted?

The candidate must hold a valid study permit at the moment of the submission of his or her application. In addition, the application must be submitted within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that the candidate has completed his or her studies (i.e. 90 days after graduation). Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) calculates 90 days from the receipt of final marks, or the receipt of formal written notification that the candidate has completed the study program, whichever comes first. Study permits become invalid 90 days after graduation, regardless of the expiration date printed on the study permit itself. In order to remain legally in Canada, a graduate should update his or status with IRCC within 90 days of finishing the study program.

How is the PGWP application submitted?

Candidates can submit their application online or by mail to IRCC.

How long does it take to Process a PGWP application?

To consult the current processing time estimate, click here. Select the option Temporary application and then "Work permit extension - new employer".

What are the PGWP application Fees?

The current total fee is $255 CAD. This is comprised of two parts: $155 CAD for the work permit fee, and an additional $100 CAD for the Open Work Permit Holder fee.

Do international graduates from a Canadian College or University need to apply for a PGWP?

No. There is no requirement to obtain a PGWP if the graduate does not intend to remain and work in Canada.

Which Diplomas are eligible under the PGWP programs?

Any diploma from a recognized Canadian educational institution may be used in an application for a PGWP, as long as the candidate meets all the eligibility criteria. A diploma from a program shorter than eight months is not eligible.

Which institutions are recognized under the PGWP program?

A candidate must hold a diploma from one of the following institutions to be eligible for a PGWP:

What documents are needed for a PGWP application?

The applicant will need to submit his or her passport or travel document, payment or proof of payment, and proof of successful completion of a study program. Further documents that may be required, depending on the applicant’s situation and accompanying family members, if applicable.

Do graduates with a valid PGWP need to remain in Canada?

No. The PGWP remains valid if the holder leaves Canada. Holders of a PGWP can return to Canada and work at any time as long as the PGWP is valid.

Can a PGWP be renewed?

A PGWP cannot be renewed beyond the maximum duration allowed according to the holder’s study program. When a PGWP is about to expire, the holder must apply for a different permit or visa if he or she wishes to continue working in Canada.

If a student obtained a PGWP from a previous Degree, and they complete another Degree in Canada, can they apply for another PGWP?

No. Individuals can only receive one PGWP no matter how many Canadian diplomas, degrees or certificates they obtain.

Does the holder of a PGWP have to hold a skilled job?

No. Holders of a PGWP can work in any job for any employer, anywhere in Canada.

Can a candidate submit an application for Permanent Residence while applying for a PGWP?

Yes. A candidate can pursue both programs at the same time. A PGWP is a popular way for graduates to remain in Canada and work while waiting for the application for permanent residence to be processed.

If a student studied part time in their last semester only, can they still apply for a PGWP?

Yes. In some cases, a student at the end of his or her degree may only have one or two courses remaining in his or her program, and therefore will study part-time in the final semester to fulfill the credit requirements of a study program. In this situation, a student is not considered to have failed the stipulation to study full-time and his or her eligibility for the PGWP is not affected.

If a student transfers to a Canadian Institution from another country, can they still obtain a PGWP after graduation from the Canadian Institution?

Yes. However, the PGWP can only be issued for a period equal to the duration of studies in Canada. For example, if a candidate transferred to a Canadian university for the last year of a Bachelor program, he or she could obtain a PGWP with a maximum validity of one year.

Can accompanying Spouses / Common-Law Partners be included on a PGWP application?

Yes. If the spouse wishes to obtain an open work permit, he or she must submit a separate application. However, in order to obtain an open work permit for an accompanying spouse or common-law partner, the holder of the PGWP must demonstrate that he or she is working in a skilled, managerial, or technical position. In this situation, the spouse needs to submit documents relating to the international graduate's PGWP and employment, along with his or her application for an open work permit for an accompanying spouse.

Can Children be included on a PGWP application?

Yes, children can also apply for a visitor record or a study permit at the same time the graduate applies for a PGWP. Additional fees and documents are required.

If accompanying family members are included on the Study Permit, are they permitted to remain in Canada for the duration of the graduate's PGWP?

Accompanying family members must submit an application for an appropriate permit in order to remain in Canada with the holder of the PGWP. Permits for accompanying family members are usually issued for the same length of time as the PGWP, or for the duration of validity of the candidate’s passport, whichever expires first.

Is PGWP available to international Graduates of Educational Institutions in Quebec?

Yes. The same eligibility criteria apply to international graduates of Quebec institutions. The PGWP program recognizes programs unique to Quebec education system, as long as the program completed is at least 900 hours in length (which is the equivalent of 8 months). Eligible institutions include public or private secondary schools and private post-secondary schools, as long as they are recognized by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (the Department of Education, Recreation and Sports (MELS)). A PGWP obtained after completing a study program in Quebec is valid throughout Canada.