Post-Graduate Work Permit Program

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I came to Canada on a Landing Permanent Residency(PR) in June 2018 via the Express Entry system.
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Post-Graduate Work Permit Program

Program Description:

International students who graduated from an eligible Canadian designated learning institution (DLIs) can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). If granted, an open work permit is issued to the applicant to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

Program Status:

Key Program highlights

A post-graduation work permit allows graduates to work for any employer in Canada full time, part-time or be self-employed. The skilled work experience gained through the PGWPP in National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill type 0 or skill level A or B helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Express Entry Canadian Experience Class.

The validity of a post-graduation work permit is based on the applicant’s length of the study program. It can be issued for a minimum of 8 months up to a maximum of 3 years.

Applicants can only receive one post-graduation work permit in their lifetime.

Program Eligibility Requirements
  • To obtain a post-graduation work permit, the applicant must currently hold valid temporary status or have left Canada before submitting their application.
  • Applicants must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI).
  • Applicants must have completed an academic, vocational or professional training program at an eligible institution in Canada that is at least 8 months in duration, leading to a degree, diploma or certificate.
  • Applicants must have maintained full-time student status in Canada during each academic session of the program or programs of study they have completed and submitted as part of their post-graduation work permit application. There are certain exceptions; leave from studies or final academic sessions.
  • Applicants must have received a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming that they have met the requirements to complete their study program.
  • Applicants must apply within 180 days of their graduation and must also meet one of the following criteria; hold a valid study permit, hold a study permit, and are authorized to study in Canada without obtaining a study permit under the Immigration laws.
  • If the applicant is out of status, he/she must either leave the country to apply for PGWP or apply for the restoration of student status as part of the PGWP application.

Certain students are ineligible for a PGWP. Follow this link to view the list of ineligible applicants.

Program Specific Data Analysis

Post-Graduate Work Permit Holders can Apply for PR under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC 2020)

Canada – Admissions of Permanent Residents by Province/Territory of Intended Destination and Immigration Category, January 2015 – October 2020 Open Data.

2016 - 2019

Data Source: 2020 & 2019 Annual Immigration Report.

Key Candidates for the Program

Key Candidates for the PGWP program are international postgraduate students who graduated from a DLI school in Canada.

  • Letter confirming completion of the program of study.
  • A final transcript.
  • Identity documents, travel documents and passport.
  • Photos: Include 2 passport photos. The photo must be taken within the last six months of applying. Write the name and date of birth at the back of the photos. Check photo specifications.
  • Proof of current immigration status.
  • Photocopy of a marriage certificate if applicable.
Step by Step Process
Step 1

Create an Express Entry Profile:

Step 1
Step 2

Fill out the forms:

Step 2
Step 3

Pay the fees:

  • The necessary fees must be paid before submitting your application. There is usually an application processing fee, an open work permit holder fee. See the breakdown of the fees.
Step 3
Step 4

Submit your application:

Step 4

Apply Now!

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Whether they are applying for PGWP from outside or inside Canada. There are two methods of applying for a PGWP. You can either apply online or submit a paper-based application at a visa application center in your Country.


To make an online application, you will be required to complete the necessary form, validate, print, sign, and upload the forms and the supporting documents.

To successfully submit an online application, you need the following:

  • A scanner or camera to scan or capture the electronic copies of all your supporting documents, which must be uploaded,
  • A valid credit card to make payment online

The first step will be required to create an account online. Follow this link to create an account online.

Once the account has been created, you will start an application for an open work permit by answering some questions. The answers you provide to these questions will be used to create a personalized document checklist for you.

Submit your application, upload all your supporting documents, and make payment for your application online. You can use your online account to get messages related to your application, check your application status, and update your information if necessary.


To submit a paper-based application, applicants must read the instruction guide to get all the details to apply on paper. Complete all your forms and gather all your supporting documents. Visit a Visa application center (VACs) to submit your paper application. The service fee charged by VAC differs from one country to another. Follow this link to find out about VAC in your country. Read the instruction to apply on paper (In Canada applicants) and instruction to apply on paper (Outside Canada applicants).

Payment of fees:

The fees you have to pay to the government include your application processing fee of $255. If you are out of status, you will pay $605 to restore your student status and PGWP application. Follow this link to pay for the restoration of status as a student. See the breakdown of the fees.

Biometrics fee:

If required, you should pay a biometrics fee when you submit your application to avoid delays. Biometric fee is $85. The biometrics fee covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo. Check if you need to give your  biometrics.

Standard Processing Time for Post-Graduate Work Permit application:

The processing time for Post-Graduate Work Permit applications is 100 days.

Latest Program Updates

New policy to help former international students live in, work in and continue contributing to Canada:

On January 8, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that former international students who hold or held a PGWP would have the opportunity to apply for an open work permit. This is part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to support international students through this challenging time. In Canada, foreign nationals affected by the pandemic with an expired or expiring PGWP will have a unique chance to apply for another open work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to remain in Canada, continue to seek employment and build their future in this country. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada estimates that as many as 52,000 graduates with expired or expiring PGWPs could benefit from the public policy.

Historical Program Data

Open Work Permit Holders in Canada 2014 - 2019

Data Source: Number of International Mobility Programs work permit holders in Canada from 2000 to 2017• IMP work permit holders Canada 2017 | Statista


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