Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWPs)

Canada has a robust post-graduate work permit program. To be eligible, the foreign student must have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution (List of DLIs) that was at least 8 months long and which leads to a degree or diploma. They must have maintained full-time status as a student during the study program.

The validity of the PGWP will depend on the length of the study program. If the study program was between 8 months and 2 years long, the work permit will be for the same length of time as the study program. If the program was 2 years or more, the PGWP will be issued for a 3 year duration.

The PGWP is an open work permit.  It will not list a specific employer, work location or occupation.  The holder may work for any employer in Canada or work for several employers. However, if the holder plans to work in health/medical services, child care/education or agricultural occupations, an immigration medical would first have to be taken and passed. 

Since it is an open work permit, it falls outside of IRCC's employer compliance regime.  Only employer- specific work permits are covered by the compliance regime. Consequently, an employer will not face a random compliance inspection relating to an open work permit holder.  Another advantage of an open work permit (versus an employer-specific work permit) is that changes to the terms of employment such as the position, duties or location of work can be made without having to consider whether a new work permit might be needed.  With employer-specific work permits, such changes often cannot be made unless a new work permit is first obtained.

A person can hold a PGWP only once, but will often be able to transition to permanent resident status within its validity.

A foreign graduate has 180 days to apply for a PGWP after they are issued their final transcript and an official letter from the institution confirming that they have completed the study program. They must either hold a study permit, or they must have held a study permit in the 180 days prior to the date they apply for the PGWP.

Information on PGWP eligibility and other requirements is available here: PGWP Eligibility and PGWP Validity Information.

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