Post-Graduation Work Permit
You may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) within 90 days of completing your NAIT certificate, diploma or degree, allowing you to stay in Canada to live and work.
What is it?
A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a document that gives you permission to remain in Canada as a worker and work full-time for up to 3 years after you graduate from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. NAIT’s DLI #: O18713200642.
Why do I need it?
A Post-Graduation Work Permit allows you to gain Canadian work experience, which can help prepare you to apply for Permanent Residence.
When do I need it?
As soon as your final grades are available from NAIT or you receive notice of completion of your program of study, you have 180 days to apply for your PGWP. The date of your graduation ceremony does not affect the application period. You do not need a job offer to apply for the PGWP.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:
- Completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months and led to a certificate, diploma or degree
- Studied full-time each academic session (excludes scheduled breaks), with two exceptions:
- You studied part-time in your final academic session only
- You took an authorized gap in studies for less than 150 days
- Taken the majority (at least 50%) of your program in-class, not through distance/online learning.
- Applied within 90 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available AND have a valid study permit at the time of application, OR
- Applied within 180 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available, AND have previously held a valid study permit, and one of the following:
- Applied for visitor status before your study permit became invalid
- Applied to restore your temporary resident status
- Applied from outside of Canada
How do I apply?
You can apply for a post-graduation work permit from within Canada if your study permit is still valid. If you have completed your program and your study permit will no longer be valid when you apply for PGWP, and you wish to remain in Canada, you must apply for visitor status before your study permit expires. Students whose study permits expire before they complete their programs must extend their study permits.
Your application must contain proof that you have completed your program of study. Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requires a Completion of Studies letter and a copy of your final transcript.
- To submit your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) application, you will need your final transcript (unofficial or official). The transcript can be obtained from your MyNAIT portal.
- After your final grades have been posted on your final transcripts, it takes approximately six weeks for the Registrar’s office to review and confirm program completion.
- After the Registrar office confirms that you have completed your program, you will receive your Completion of Studies letter in your MyNAIT portal under e-letters. Processing time to receive this letter is 6-8 weeks.
View an example of a completion letter.
- To apply for your PGWP, you have the following resources available:
- PGWP application guide
- How to apply for a PGWP workshop
- Tips for writing an Explanation Letter
If, after reading the guide and attending the workshop, you still have questions about applying for a PWGP, you can book an appointment with an Academic Advisor - International focus.
Can I work while applying for PGWP?
Student working privileges vary widely and may be summarized in three types.
1. Before receiving a Completion of Studies letter (see ‘How do I apply?’ section above for an example)
NAIT certificate, degree or diploma students who complete all their program requirements and still meet eligibility for off-campus work, can continue to work part-time.
2. Once a Completion of Studies letter is issued
According to IRCC, once a Post-Graduation Work Permit letter is issued, students must stop working immediately.
3. After submitting a Post-Graduation Work Permit application
Students who meet all of the IRCC’s conditions may begin working full-time while they wait for a PGWP application to be approved by IRCC.
If your employer is questioning your working privileges or wishes to see proof that you can work full-time in Canada, you can show them documents outlined in this IRCC list.
Unfortunately, if your Post-Graduation Work Permit application is refused, you will need to stop working as soon as IRCC notifies you.
I had one before. Can I apply for another one?
No. You are not eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit if you have previously been issued a PGWP following any other course of study. A PGWP can only be issued to you once in your lifetime.
What else do I need to know?
Can I change jobs with the PGWP or do I have to work for just one employer?
PGWPs are issued as "open" work permits, meaning that once you successfully apply for and receive your PGWP, you may work for any employer. You may also change employers within the period of authorization without applying to change the conditions of your PGWP.
My Study Permit expired at the end of the semester when I finished my program. Do I need to extend it to apply for a PGWP?
You MUST have a valid temporary status as a student or a visitor in order to apply for a PGWP. If your study permit expires before program completion, you must apply to extend it. If your study permit expires on or after the completion of your program, you must apply for visitor status before your study permit expires. If you have not applied to extend it before it expires, you must stop studying and working and apply for a restoration of status.
My passport will expire before my 3-year PGWP term is up. Can I extend it?
The PGWP is issued based on the length of your program of study and the expiry date of your passport. Although you may be eligible for a 3-year work permit, IRCC will not issue a work permit for longer than your passport is valid. You may, however, extend your PGWP after your renew your passport.
How does the length of my diploma/degree/certificate determine the length of my PGWP?
A 3-year PGWP will only be granted for programs of study at the degree and diploma level that are at least 2 years in length. Completing a program of less than 2 years in length may result in the issuance of a work permit that is valid only for the length of the program that has been completed.
If a student completed more than one program from an eligible DLI within two years, the length of the work permit should combine the length of each program.
Please note that the validity period of the PGWP may not go beyond the applicant’s passport validity date.
Will employment with my PGWP allow me to apply for Permanent Residence?
The PGWP program allows most international students who have graduated from an eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to gain valuable Canadian work experience. There are a number of immigration programs available for international students to apply for permanent residence. The International Centre delivers presentations on preparing for permanent residence every week. NAIT's Academic Advisors with an International focus deliver presentations on preparing for permanent residence regularly. Please monitor here for those offerings.
What if I took some distance/online courses during my studies?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, IRCC made several changes regarding distance learning. If you are in Canada and your program offers face-to-face classes, IRCC recommends that you study in-person in order to protect your future PGWP eligibility.
If your program only offers online classes, IRCC currently states that studying online will not affect your future PGWP eligibility. Please visit the IRCC PGWP page for the most up-to-date information.
The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, this is not a legal document and information may change without notice.
Looking for more information?
We're happy to help answer your questions. Feel free to submit any Immigration questions through NAIT.ca/help. We also recommend you check out the Government of Canada's Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship page for all up to date information.