Everything About Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) for Canada

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a special authorization granted by the Canadian government. It enables international students who complete their studies at Canadian universities or colleges to work in Canada for a designated period after their graduation. The PGWP serves as a valuable tool for these students, aiding them in securing employment and establishing themselves in Canada. Furthermore, it serves as a pathway for them to potentially obtain permanent residency in Canada in the future.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

In 2024, Canada’s immigration minister announced some big changes for international students and those applying for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWP).

Starting from September 1, Post-Graduation Work Permits will have new rules. They won’t be available anymore for students in public/private partnership programs, also called curriculum licensing agreements. These programs are run by private colleges that give diplomas similar to those from public colleges, but they have stricter rules for who can get in.

But there are some exceptions:

Exception 1: Curriculum licensing agreements between provinces/territories (cross-jurisdictional)

Students who started a study program at a private college, which is conducted on behalf of a public college in another province/territory, on or before January 31, 2023, might qualify for a PGWP. They need to fulfill all other PGWP eligibility requirements. However, students commencing such cross-jurisdictional programs on or after February 1, 2023, won’t be eligible for a PGWP.

Exception 2: Curriculum licensing agreements within the same province.

Students who started a study program at a private college, conducted on behalf of a public college in the same province before September 1, 2024, might qualify for a PGWP. They need to fulfill all other program eligibility requirements.

However, if you start these programs after September 1, 2024, you won’t get any exceptions.

For Master’s graduates and graduates of other short graduate-level programs, work permits will now be 3 years max for eligible candidates. This change aims to close loopholes and tighten oversight, especially in private colleges under curriculum licensing agreements. And there’s good news: The COVID-era rule that lets distance learning count toward PGWP eligibility will continue until August 31, 2024.

Applying for a PGWP

To apply for a PGWP, if you’re a graduate of a Canadian academic institution, you have 180 days after graduating to apply. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Canada or not when you apply, as long as you’re eligible and it’s within the 180-day time limit. You’ll need to prove that you finished your program by showing documents. Also, you have to give details about your program’s name and how long it lasted. There are certain papers you must include with your application.

To get a post-graduation work permit (PGWP), you must meet certain requirements:

  1. You must have legal temporary status in Canada or have left the country.
  2. You must have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) that’s eligible.
  3. You must show clear proof that you meet these criteria:
  • You finished a program at a Canadian academic institution that lasted at least 8 months. This program could be academic, vocational, or professional, and it should lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • You were a full-time student during each academic session of the program(s) you completed. There are exceptions for things like breaks from studies, your last academic session, or COVID-19 reasons.
  • You got a transcript and an official letter from your school saying you completed your program. You need to include these in your PGWP application.

Canada’s PGWP: Why It Matters

Canada wants international students and graduates to think about staying in the country for a long time. To help with this, the post-graduation work permit program lets students who finished school in Canada work here and gain Canadian work experience.

This experience isn’t just good for earning money; it also helps with applying for permanent residency. There are special programs like the Canadian Experience Class that give points for having Canadian work experience.

PGWP Length

A post-graduation work permit can last up to three years, depending on how long the student’s program was in Canada. Also, the permit allows the person to work anywhere in Canada and for any employer. They don’t need special permission called a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to start working in Canada.

Eligible Academic Institutions

To be eligible, the academic institution where you studied must fit into one of these categories:

– A public college, trade or technical school, university, or CEGEP (in Quebec)

– A private college in Quebec that follows the same rules as public schools

– A private high school or college in Quebec offering programs of 900 hours or more that lead to a diploma or certification

– A private Canadian academic institution allowed by the province to give degrees, like associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees. But this only counts if you’re studying for one of those degrees as allowed by the province. It might not cover all the programs the private school offers.

Note: Starting September 1, students in public/private partnership programs won’t get Post Graduation Work Permits anymore.

The validity period of the post-graduation work permit is based on the duration of the study program.

Duration of study program Duration of work permit

Below 8 months Not eligible
From 8 to 24 months Up to the same duration as the study program
24 months or longer 3 years


Multiple programs Up to 3 years if more than 1 eligible study program is done


Master’s or PhD program 3 years

Key Information about PGWP

Processing Time for PGWP

How long it takes to process your PGWP depends on where you are when you apply. If you apply within Canada, it takes about 4 months. But if you apply from outside Canada, it depends on how long the office takes to process it.

Can You Work While Waiting for Your PGWP?

Yes, you can work full-time while waiting for your PGWP if you had a valid study permit when you applied, finished your studies, and followed your study permit’s rules.

Reasons Your PGWP Might Be Shorter Than Expected

Your PGWP might be shorter if your passport is expiring soon. If your passport has 6 months left, so does your PGWP.

Can You Extend Your PGWP?

Before the pandemic, you could only extend your PGWP if it depended on your passport’s validity. If you want to stay in Canada after your PGWP ends, check out other options.

How Many PGWPs Can You Get?

You can only get 1 PGWP, even if you study more. So, think about how long you want to stay in Canada when you apply for programs.

How Does Accelerated Studies Affect PGWP Length?

If you finish your program faster, your PGWP will still be as long as the original program’s length.

Does PGWP Work Experience Count for Permanent Residence?

Usually, work experience from a PGWP can help you get permanent residence. Some Provincial Nominee programs even target international students studying in Canada.

PGWP Fees: How Much Does It Cost?

A PGWP costs CAD 155. Plus, you need to pay CAD 100 for an open work permit.

Can Spouses of PGWP Holders Get a Work Permit?

Yes, if you have a PGWP, your spouse can get an open work permit to work in Canada.


The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada continues to serve as a vital pathway for international students aspiring to build their careers and lives in the country. Despite the changes affecting certain program eligibility criteria, the PGWP remains an invaluable asset for graduates seeking to gain valuable Canadian work experience and explore avenues for long-term residency.

At the International Career Counselling Centre, we understand the significance of informed decision-making in navigating the complexities of international career opportunities. As advocates for Canadian career development, we encourage students to stay ahead of evolving immigration policies and seize the opportunities presented by the PGWP program to realize their professional aspirations in Canada. Let us continue to empower and guide students towards fulfilling and rewarding career paths in Canada and beyond.

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