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Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) for International Students in Canada

As an international student, you may be able to work temporarily and even stay permanently in Canada after your graduation. In order to legally work in Canada after you completed your study you need to have an open work permit. Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) allows international graduates to gain a valuable Canadian work experience and may help in the future to qualify for Permanent Residency. PGWP allows its holders to work full-time, part-time and to be self-employed.

Who is eligible

To be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, international students must have:

  • completed their study and graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada;
  • their study program must have been at least 8 months long and led to a degree, diploma or certificate;
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester (exceptions may be made for the students who studied part-time during their final semester);
  • graduated from a public or private post-secondary school (college, trade/technical school), university or CEGER (in Quebec).


When to apply

International students have 180 days since they received confirmation from their school about the completed study to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. It can be a degree, a diploma, a certificate, a transcript or an official letter from the school.

How to apply

As an international student who graduated from the designated learning institutions in Canada, you can apply for Post-Graduate Work Permit both from inside Canada and from overseas. You can do it online and in paper form, and you may need an official letter from your school confirming that you’ve completed your study program, and an official transcript or a copy of it from the school’s website.

Who is ineligible?

International students are ineligible to apply for PGWP if they:

  • have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit;
  • completed a study program that is less than eight months long;
  • took an unauthorized leave from their study program;
  • received funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) or participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC);
  • studied English or French as a second language;
  • took self-improvement or general interest courses;
  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship (Canada-Chile);
  • participated in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program;
  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program;
  • completed the majority of study program by distance learning, such as online courses, correspondence and e-learning;
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian learning institution located in Canada.


Special cases and possible difficulties

There are some special cases where international students may be still eligible for PGWP if they have completed an accelerated or distance learning program, had a leave from studies, had transfers between the schools or completed some Canadian programs with an overseas component etc.

IRCC official website provides international students who are willing to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit with all the necessary information about the documents, forms and fees. However, as the application process can have many details and nuances to be taken into consideration, it is recommended to use the assistance of a certified consultant. Marcus Canada specialists can help you access your eligibility and will support you during the entire application process to ensure that you have the best experience.

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