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Post-graduation work permits

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This is an open work permit that allows you to work for any employer and does not require you to first have an offer of employment.

If you are intending to apply for permanent residency after you graduate, most of the categories you are or would be eligible for would require you to maintain your temporary resident status in Canada. The PGWP is a way for you to do this while you apply for your permanent residency.

PGWP frequently asked questions

  • Who can apply for the PGWP?

    To review your eligibility requirements in detail, visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website

    Main requirements:

    • You have a valid study permit when applying for the work permit.
    • You have continuously studied full-time in Canada and have completed a program of study that is at least eight months in duration.
    • You have completed and passed the program of study and received a written notification from the educational institution indicating that you are eligible to obtain a degree, diploma or certificate.
    • You must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (i.e. final transcript, official letter, or formal notification of graduation) from your institution indicating you have met your program requirements.
      • (For example, if you write your final exams in April, you can get your Official Letter verifying program completion by mid-May.)
  • What if I studied part-time in my final semester?

    Students must have continuously studied full-time in Canada. However, if a student meets all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status during their final academic session, he or she is still considered eligible for this program.

  • How long will my PGWP last?

    The maximum duration of the PGWP is three years. An officer will determine how long your permit will be issued for, based on the following:

    • If your program of study was less than eight months, you are not eligible for this program.
    • If your program of study was less than two years but more than eight months, you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study. For example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months.
    • If your program of study was more than two years in duration, you are eligible for the three-year work permit.
  • How long does it take to get my PGWP?

    The processing times for applications vary. 

    View the CIC's processing times (updated weekly)

    • What are you applying for?
        • Select Visiting, studying, working temporarily
    • Which temporary residence application?
        • Select Work permit extension (new employer)

Work eligibility

  • Can I work while waiting for my PGWP?

    According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation 186(w), a foreign national is allowed to work without a permit until a decision is made on their PGWP application if they submitted their application while their study permit was still valid.

    The regulations again state the conditions under which a student may work while they wait for their PGWP to be processed under the Program Deliver Instructions.

     Under Conditions for work, they state a student may work full-time during the transition period to a PGWP so long as they applied for the PGWP before their study permit expired and within 90 days of program completion (that is, in accordance with R186(w) above). 

  • What if my Social Insurance Number is expired?

    Temporary foreign workers who are not permanent residents or Canadian citizens are issued temporary Social Insurance Numbers (SINs) that start with a 9. Temporary SINs have a validity period which corresponds with the temporary resident's status document. As an international student, your SIN is most likely tied to your study permit document. Your SIN will most likely expire at the same time as this document.

    When you get your new PGWP, you will need to extend your SIN by visiting a Service Canada location with your new temporary resident status document.

  • Will my employer hire me with an expired SIN?

    They should. Service Canada provides instructions to employers on how they should address temporary foreign workers who have implied status (under R183(5)) and to legally work (as is described in R186(w)) but whose SINs have expired.

    You should direct your employer to Service Canada's Employer's Responsibilities page (Section 3.1, part 2 and Section 3.2, parts 5 and 6) or the Before Extending Employment for Your Employee section the Government of Canada - Employer Information page for guidance and answers to questions they may have.

  • How do I extend my SIN after I get my PGWP?

    You may extend your SIN after you receive your new PGWP. Your temporary SIN will be set to expire with your new PGWP.

    For more information on Social Insurance Numbers, and how and where to apply, visit our Working in Canada page. 

Required documents

  • Required documents for IMM 5710 application

    View the checklist of documents

    General list of documents

    • Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
    • passport photocopies
    • photocopy of current immigration document (i.e. study permit, work permit, visitor record)
    • final transcript*
    • a letter from the institution and/or formal notice of graduation*

    *If you are applying online, only one of the two documents is required. If you are applying at a port of entry, they will request both.

  • University-required documents
    • A final transcript.
    • A letter from the university indicating program completion or formal notification of graduation.

    Requesting an official transcript

    You can request official transcripts online through MyCampus.

    Please note: If you are a graduate student who completes their program part way through a term, you cannot receive a final transcript until the end of that semester.  As such, it is recommend you apply online using a confirmation of program completion letter from the university.

    MyCampus transcript request instructions

      1. Log into your MyCampus account.
      2. On the left-hand side under Helpful links > Student records, select Request printed/official transcript.
      3. Issue document to yourself.
      4. You can request that your transcript be mailed to you ($12 per copy) or you can pick it up in the Registrar's office ($12 per copy).

    Your transcript will be provided in a sealed envelope. Open this envelope to check your transcript for accuracy, make sure it's a final transcript, and scan it if you are submitting your work permit application online.  

    Requesting a Program Completion Letter

    Make sure your letter includes the following:

      • University of Ontario Institute of Technology's Designated Learning Institution Number (DLI): O19315945002.
      • The duration of your program of study (e.g. two-year program, four-year program).
      • Indication that you have met all program requirements.

    Undergraduate students

    • Visit the Registrar's office in the Software and Informatics Research Centre.  
    • Speak with the records and registration representatives at the front.
    • Request a Program Completion Letter for International Students.

    Graduate students

    • Visit the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office in Campus Corners, Room 1400.
    • Request a Program Completion Letter for International Students (also known as a Degree Conferral Letter).

Online application process

  • Online PGWP instruction guide

    Use the instruction guide below if you have completed your studies, have a valid study permit and are applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit from within Canada.

    The instruction guide above explains:

      • How to create your MyCIC account.
      • How to complete the online questionnaire.
      • How to create your checklist of documents.
      • How to correctly complete application IMM 5710 (Application to Change Conditions, Extend my stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker).

    Instruction Guide: Post-Graduation Work Permit Application

Applying at a port of entry

  • Can I apply for my PGWP at a border?

    According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry (POE) may also apply for a post-graduation work permit through that channel. 

    According to Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations R198(1) and R190(3), you may be eligible to apply at a POE in the following circumstances.

    Application on entry to Canada

    R198 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a foreign national may apply for a work permit when entering Canada if the foreign national is exempt under Division 5 of Part 9 from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa.

    Visa exemption — purpose of entry

    R190(3): A foreign national is exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary resident visa if they are seeking to enter and remain in Canada solely

    (f) to re-enter Canada following a visit solely to the United States or St. Pierre and Miquelon, if they:

    • (i) held a study permit or a work permit that was issued before they left Canada on such a visit or were authorized to enter and remain in Canada as a temporary resident; and
    • (ii) return to Canada by the end of the period initially authorized for their stay or any extension to it.
  • Application process at a port of entry

    The application and document checklist will be the same as mentioned above.  

    You will fill out, submit and pay for the application package at the port of entry (POE). If the agent determines you meet the requirements, he or she can issue you your PGWP there.

    You will need to book an appointment at the POE you would like to visit. To do so, you must call and speak with an agent at 1.888.242.2100. 

    Important note:

    It is up to the Border Services Agent to decide if he or she will process any PGWP requests. It is your decision to visit a POE and attempt to get your PGWP through this channel. This is not a guaranteed process so you may be told that the agent will not process it for you and you should apply online.

  • Do I need a valid TRV?

    It is always at the discretion of the Border Services Agent to decide whether to allow a foreign national to re-enter Canada, even if R190(3)(f) (shown above) is met. Having a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) at the time of re-entry (if you come from a country requiring a TRV) will reduce the chances of the agent deeming you ineligible to re-enter.  

  • Port of entry locations

    If you attempt to apply at a port of entry (POE), you must ensure you go to a location that offers Immigration Services.

Applications for spouses and families

  • Joint applications for spouses and dependents

    If you have a spouse/common-law partner and/or dependents, you may submit a joint application online for all of you at once or submit their application separately afterwards (being sure to connect their application to your own). In this case, you would be the principal applicant and decisions on their eligibility would be based on your application and temporary resident status.

  • Is my spouse/common-law partner eligible for an open work permit?

    As the principal applicant, when you were a student, your spouse/common-law partner was able to apply for an open-work permit based on Exemption [C42].

    When you apply for a PGWP as the principal applicant, your spouse/common-law partner may apply for an open-work permit based on Exemption [C41]. However, unlike with C[42], there are some requirements for [C41].

    If the principal foreign worker is the holder of an open work permit (e.g., post-graduation work permitworking holiday work permit), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) cannot assess the skill level based only on the open work permit, and the spouse or common-law partner applying for the C41 exemption will need to attach proof that the principal worker is employed in an occupation in skill level 0, A or B.

    The spousal applicant should submit all the supporting documents, including both of the following:

    • A letter from the principal foreign worker’s current employer confirming employment or a copy of their employment offer or contract.
    • A copy of the principal foreign worker’s last three pay slips.