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Post-Graduation Work Permit

You may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) within 90 days of completing your degree, allowing you to stay in Canada to live and work.

What is it?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit 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 Canadian post-secondary institution.

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 marks are available or you receive notice of completion of your program of study, you have 90 days in which 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.

How do I apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

You must have a valid study permit and apply within 90 days of completing your program requirements. Your application must contain proof that you have completed your program of study (i.e., final transcript that notes you have completed your degree or a letter from the International Centre).

  1. Once your program area confirms you have met the requirements of your program, request the program area to fill out/sign a Post-Graduation Work Permit form and subsequently send it to the International Centre (W-101).
  2. Within 3 business days, the International Centre will issue an official Post-Graduation Work Permit letter and will contact you to pick it up at the International Centre (W-101).
  3. You will apply online at  Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada   and select the option work permit - new or extend.

Once I have applied for Post-Graduation Work Permit, can I start to work full-time?

You are not authorized to work full-time until your Post-Graduation Work Permit application has been received by IRCC. If you have a valid study permit and have met your program requirements, you will be eligible to begin full-time work immediately after you have applied for your Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Pursuant to s.186 (w) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act's regulations, an international student who holds a valid study permit and has apply for a post-graduation work permit, is eligible to work without the post-graduation until a decision on his/her application had been made:

186. A foreign national may work in Canada without a work permit

 (v) if they are the holder of a study permit and

    o    (i) they are a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,

    o    (ii) the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and

    o    (iii) although they are permitted to engage in full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions, they work no more than 20 hours per week during a regular academic session; or

(w) if they are or were the holder of a study permit who has completed their program of study and

    o    (i) they met the requirements set out in paragraph (v), and

    o    (ii) they applied for a work permit before the expiry of that study permit and a decision has not yet been made in respect of their application.

Find out more info about Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit regulations. 

I held a Post-Graduation Work Permit 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?

  • Yes. You must have a valid study permit in order to apply for a PGWP. You should apply to extend your study permit past the date you expect to complete your program.

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.

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. Please contact the International Centre for further details.

Note: Some NAIT programs offer online courses, which if taken disproportionately to in-class courses, may impact a student’s eligibility to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. While students are allowed to take some online courses, the online course load should never exceed or be disproportionate to the in-class course load. The onus is on you to manage and balance your in-class versus online class course load in accordance with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada’s regulations and guidelines.

For further details about distance learning or online courses and to ensure you do not waive your eligibility to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit as they relate to international students, please see Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's website, call IRCC at 1.888.242.2100, or book an appointment with an International Student Advisor in the International Centre by calling 780.378.6130 or by email at internationalcentre@nait.ca.

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 email the International Student Centre  if you have any specific questions. We also recommend you check out the Government of Canada's Immigration, Refugees and  Citizenship page for all up to date information. 

 Refer to the Government of Canada for up to date information