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Post-Graduate Work Permit

Foreign nationals who complete a post-secondary program (or certain secondary programs) as international students in Canada may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). These work permits authorize recent international students to remain in Canada to live and work after their studies are complete. 

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Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) are open work permits, meaning that they grant foreign nationals the freedom to work for different employers in different locations. Unlike the vast majority of Canadian work permits, the PGWP does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for successful applicants. PGWPs enable many recent graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience. With enough work experience in Canada, many foreign nationals become eligible for Canada’s permanent residency programs, including one of the following pathways:

Continue reading below to learn more about the eligibility criteria and application procedure for Post-Graduation Work Permits in Canada and the benefits of completing Canadian educational programs as an international student.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) a foreign national must be at least 18 years old and have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a program of at least 8 months. The study program must have been completed at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in one of the following types of programs listed below. As well, in order to apply for the work permit, a foreign national must apply within 180 days of the completion of their study program.

If an applicant is applying from within Canada, they must have valid status at the time of application. If their study permit has expired or will expire they may apply for status as a visitor before applying for the PGWP. However, applicants who apply for a PGWP prior to the expiration of their study permit are eligible to begin working full time immediately, while their application is processing. Applicants may apply for a PGWP from overseas.

Eligible Levels of Study

The following levels of study and programs are eligible for PGWPs:

  • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec; or
  • private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (only applies to certain institutions in Quebec); or
  • private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or
  • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law only for those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.

It should be noted that certain international students who receive funding through Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and some foreign financial aid programs may be ineligible for post-graduation work permits. A post-graduation work permit can be valid for any length of time between eight months and three years. A PGWP will not be issued for a duration longer than the applicant’s duration of study in Canada. Generally, the PGWP will be approximately the same duration as the applicant’s period of Canadian study, up to a maximum of three years.

Benefits of Studying in Canada

Canada offers world-class educational opportunities in a country which boasts a high quality of life for its residents! Canada has a reputation as a safe and welcoming country with a rich history of multiculturalism, positioning itself as an excellent choice for international students.

Foreign nationals hoping to improve their skills for employment, or who wish to open to door to future Canadian immigration options should consider studying in Canada as an international student. Learn more about the benefits of becoming an international student in Canada and the possible pathways for immigrating to Canada permanently after studies!

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