Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) In Canada: Meaning & Eligibility

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Canada is one of the most favoured destinations among students to pursue their masters. This is because of its renowned, unparalleled, world-class education system. Moreover, as part of the country’s endeavours to retain skilled professionals in their country, Canada provides an important advantage to abroad students – The Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program.

As an international student looking to pursue a master’s in Canada, you would surely be faced with questions on seeking work post-graduation and the best route to securing a permanent residency in Canada.

Read on to find out about PGWP Canada, its benefits, eligibility, how to apply, and why it is worthwhile to explore PGWP to be successful and settle in Canada.

pgwp canada

PGWP Canada Overview

The PGWP is a type of open-work permit with which international graduates can work for any employer in Canada. An open work permit is one that is not job-specific. Because of the lack of restrictions on the job or employer, you will not need the following when you apply for the work permit:

  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • An offer letter from the employer

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Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) In Canada: Meaning & Eligibility
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A PGWP is valid for a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years. The determining factor of the duration of your PGWP depends on the length of your program. For abroad students who lack valuable Canadian work experience, the PGWP program is a valuable opportunity to gain professional Canadian work experience.

Duration of PGWP Canada

With regards to the duration of the course, IRCC provides the following guidelines on its website:

  • If the length of the completed program is under eight months, the candidate is ineligible for a PGWP.
  • If the length of the completed program is between 8 months and less than two years, the PGWP granted will correspond with the length of the course. For instance, if the official length of the course is 16 months, you will be granted a PGWP for 16 months.
  • If the length of the completed program is more than two years, the PGWP will be granted for three years. Meaning, that even if your course is for three years or four years, you would still be eligible for a PGWP with an expiry date of no more than three years.

Eligibility for PGWP Canada

The eligibility criteria to obtain a PGWP Canada are as follows:

  • The candidate must be at least 18 years old.
  • Application for PGWP must be submitted within 90 days of program completion by the candidate.
  • The candidate must possess a valid study permit at the time of applying for PGWP.
  • The course pursued must at least be for a length of 8 months.
  • The candidate’s program must be an “academic, vocational, or professional” training program from an eligible Designated Learning Institution (DLI). The program must be part of earning a degree, diploma, or certificate. Most of the institutions in Canada qualify to be DLIs.
  • The candidate has maintained the status of a full-time student in Canada during every academic session of the program(s) of complete study and is included in the PGWP application.
  • One has to submit a transcript and an official letter from the DLI of the completed program that confirms all program requirements have been met for successful completion. These documents are to be included in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Application.

As per CanadaVisa, the applicant should have graduated from any of the following types of institutes:

  • Public post-secondary institution
  • College
  • University
  • Trade or technical school
  • CEGEP (in Quebec)
  • The private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec
  • The private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) 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); or
  • Canadian private schools can award degrees under provincial law but only if the student was enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorised by the province.

In Quebec, vocational and professional training program graduates have additional criteria to complete as outlined by the IRCC.

The candidate may still be eligible for a PGWP if:

  • Only a part-time program was pursued in the final academic session.
  • An authorised study gap under 150 days was obtained.
  • The candidate studied the program remotely or abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic (The temporary policies allowing the same are in place until August 31, 2022)

Also Read: IELTS for Canada Immigration & Work Permit

Flight Instructors: Special PGWP Case

The eligibility for a flight instructor to attain a post-graduate work permit is either one of the following:

  • Own a Canadian commercial pilot’s licence after completing the required training at a Canadian training centre
  • In the process of receiving an instructor’s rating and a valid job offer as an instructor at a flight training centre

Documents Required PGWP Canada

In most cases, PGWP Application has to be made online. Get the following documents ready at the time of application:

  • The degree or diploma
  • An official letter of completion from your school
  • An official transcript from the college

The candidate can apply only after the Letter of Completion (LoC) is available. DLIs usually give the LoC only after the candidate has cleared all the program components and requirements.

The deadline to apply for the PGWP is six months or 180 days from the date of obtaining the transcript and LoC from your DLI. Generally, for an online application, it takes 109 days for the Government agency to process a PGWP Application.

Benefits of PGWP Canada

The most significant benefit of PGWP is that it allows the PGWP holder to acquire experience in a skilled vocation of the intended field of work. This can be a determining factor in whether the student applies and qualifies for Permanent residence (PR) under Canada’s Express Entry system.

Secondly, Canadian employers benefit from the PGWPs as they help them avoid a lengthy, costly LMIA for which several rigid criteria such as that the employer must prove that they have tried to hire a Canadian for the job but have been unable to do so.

Another interesting fact about PGWP is that a Canadian immigrant who has both a study and graduate work permit prior to becoming a permanent resident shows strong employment advantages such as higher wage pay over other immigrants. According to the 2019 World Education Services report, immigrants with pre-PR experience as a student or temporary residents show strong employment advantages over other immigrants.

pgwp canada


All in all, it is worthwhile to consider the option of PGWP Canada, particularly if the candidate aspires to procure a Canadian permanent residence through the express entry route. If you have any questions or need any assistance with applying for or with respect to PGWP Canada, Leap Scholar’s expert country-specialist counsellors are always available here.

Leap Scholar is India’s largest Study Abroad Platform. We provide guidance and counselling to students who wish to complete their studies abroad on matters related to admission, Visa hassles, jobs in the new country and similar aspects. In addition, we also provide IELTS training.Related Articles: 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. If my course duration is 6 months & I took 10 months to complete, will I still be able to apply for PGWP?

Ans: No, the PGWP duration depends on the official length of the course. In this case, the official length is six months, and hence the candidate is not eligible for PGWP.

2. I have completed 2 programs. Can I get an extended PGWP corresponding to the combined length of both programs?

Ans: In the case that the candidate has completed more than one program, you may be able to combine your Canadian program of studies to get a PGWP as long as the eligibility criteria are met and both courses, individually, are above the length of 8 months.

3. I graduated from my program on the 11th of December. But my institution gave me the LoC only on the 30th of December. Can I apply for PGWP from the date 11th of December? 

Ans: No, you can apply only after the 30th of December once the LoC has been received by the candidate.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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