Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): 5 Benefits for International Graduates

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program holds multiple benefits for International graduates in Canada. An important component of Canada’s immigration efforts, the PGWP program was implemented to attract international

It is important for international students to be compliant with the immigration laws throughout their studies in Canada. It is very important to maintain full-time status in each semester and equally important to work only the authorized hours that you are allowed to work. This is a one-time opportunity, make sure that you understand all the requirements for a post-graduate work permit and abide by the rules.

Ready to plan your career? With this guide, you will learn why the post-graduate work permit can be beneficial to your future in Canada. Use the question links below to navigate through this guide!

What is the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)?

The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that enables successful applicants to gain valuable work experience in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) implemented the PGWP program to attract international students to stay in Canada after university graduation. As an open work permit, the PGWP allows international graduates to work for any Canadian employer without the need for a job offer. 

How do I know if I’m eligible?

To be eligible for a post-graduate work permit, you must have: 

  • Completed a study program of at least eight months in duration at an eligible Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI). [to check if your DLI and study program quality for a PGWP application, click here]
  • Graduated from:
  • A public post-secondary institution [college, a trade or technical school, a university, CEGEP (in Quebec)]
  • A private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (in Quebec)
  • A private secondary or post-secondary school that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer and results in the issuance of a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) (in Quebec) [this Canadian private school can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.]
  • Received a degree, diploma, or certificate for your study program.
  • Maintained full-time student status during every academic session of their study program.
  • Maintained Immigration Status as a Student throughout the duration of your academic program.
  • Received an official final transcript and program completion letter from your eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI) confirming that you’ve completed your studies.  

How long does the permit last?

Depending on the longevity of each eligible study program at a Canadian DLI, a post-graduate work permit can be valid anywhere between 8 months to 3 years. General guidelines by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) illustrate the PGWP’s validity range as follows:

Post-Graduate Work permit duration based on program duration.

When should I apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit?

The deadline to apply for the post-graduate work permit is within 180 days (six months) of obtaining a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that the requirements to complete the program of study have been met. If the study permit is set to expire before the marks have come in, candidates have two options:      

  1. Apply for a visitor record to stay in Canada longer
  2. Leave Canada and apply for the PGWP

Having any doubts? Let us help you!

Applying for the PGWP is the most practical way to extend your stay in Canada after graduation. Moreover, holding a PGWP opens multiple doors for international graduates without any complicated restrictions. Here are five great benefits you can gain if you apply for the PGWP:

Why should I apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit? - 5 Benefits for International Students

1. The ability to work full-time

International students are limited to work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions. However, upon completing your studies, you can immediately start working full-time while your application is being processed. Working full-time means that you can work whatever number of hours you wish to per week, from any singular job or split between different jobs. Remember, to do this you must submit your PGWP application while your study permit is still valid and within 90 days after receiving your Letter of Completion.

2. Freedom to choose your workplace and start date

You don’t need a job offer to apply for the post-graduate work permit. In fact, because it is an open work permit, the PGWP allows you to work for any employer in any occupation, even if it isn’t directly related to your studies; the only exceptions applies to jobs at risk of exploitation. Additionally, the PGWP enables you to apply for jobs anywhere in Canada and at any time (as long as it is within the validity of your permit).

  • Jobs that require a medical exam: please note that depending on the job you wish to pursue you may need a medical exam. To find out whether you’ll need a medical exam for your intended job click here.

3. A head start in your professional life

The post-graduate work permit allows you to kickstart your professional goals. Whether you wish to apply what you’ve learned in your study program, or you’re interested in beginning your professional journey in a different field, it’s up to you. Significant entry-level experience is the minimum requirement common to all high-paying jobs, and the PGWP will allow you to gain that and more, taking you closer to your career goals.

4. The ability to apply for Canadian immigration

Applying for the post-graduate work permit is the first step towards gaining valuable work experience in Canada. Moreover, such work experience can become your ticket to apply for Canadian immigration (as with the Canadian Experience Class). Generally speaking, a PGWP holder needs to gain one year of professional work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B to then be eligible to apply for Canadian permanent residence under the Canadian experience class. However, if your work experience falls under C and D NOC level jobs, don’t get discouraged! There are several pathways that can lead you towards becoming a Canadian permanent resident [like the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP)]. 

To find out what permanent resident categories you may fit into please visit this link.

5. Space and time to evaluate your options

After graduating, many students aren’t sure what their next chapter will be (and whether they will stay or return to Canada). If this is your case, don’t worry! It is reasonable to consider your next move carefully. However, keep in mind that you don’t need to reside in Canada or hold a job at all times to keep your work permit valid. You could take a break and visit your family, go on a vacation, or simply take some time off while you try to find the right job for you in Canada. Just make sure you comply with the program deadlines and requirements, and you’ll have your post-graduate work permit in no time!

Ultimately, the post-graduate work permit (PGWP) program is a part of Canada’s efforts to attract international students into staying in the country. The multiple liberties and benefits offered by the program recognize the talents and abilities of international graduates and seek to help these flourish. So, there it is, a package deal. Make no mistake; this program was designed for you!


Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program.
Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be outdated.
If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author. Please book a consultation if you would like to get answers to general immigration questions and advice specific to your situation.

About Chitra & Associates

Chitra & Associates Immigration Consultants Inc. is an Immigration Consulting company specialising in Canadian Immigration and Visa Services. We provide services in the area of Economic Immigration, permanent residency for Canada for Individuals, Business Immigration, work permits, visitor visas, study permits, and much more.

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