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Post-graduation work permit (PGWP)

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.

PGWP is a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can’t get a PGWP if you already had one after completing an earlier program of study. Consult with your International Student Advisor about your options. 

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.

You can apply for a post-graduate work permit through your IRCC secure account on the IRCC website. You can apply from inside Canada or overseas, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria. To view eligibility requirements, visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Applying for a PGWP

  • How long is PGWP valid?

    The length that a PGWP is valid for depends on the length of your study program.

    Length of Program
    Length of PGWP
    Program length is less than eight months You are not eligible.
    Program length is more than eight months long but less than two years

    PGWP is issued for the same length as your program.

    You may get a three-year PGWP if you complete a master's or doctoral degree in Canada which is 16 to 23 months in duration and does not include regularly scheduled breaks.

    Effective 15, 2024, for applications received on or after February 15, 2024: you may get a three-year PGWP if you graduate from a degreegranting master's level program, which is less than two years. 

    Program length is two years or more PGWP is issued for three years.
    Completed more than one program

    You may be able to get a PGWP that combines the length of each program.

    • For example, if the combined length of the programs is two years, you may be eligible for a three-year PGWP

    You can find more information on PGWP duration on the IRCC website.

  • Who can apply for the PGWP?

    To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:

    • Successfully completed a program of study that was at least eight months long that led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
    • Maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program.
      • This doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.
    • Received a transcript and an official letter from the university confirming that you have met the requirements to complete their program of study.
    • Either hold or have held a valid study permit within 180 days of the date of applying for the post-graduation work permit.
    • You have not had previously been issued a post-graduation work permit.
    To review your eligibility requirements in detail, visit the IRCC website.
  • What documents are needed to apply?

    You will need the following documents to apply for a PGWP:

    • Final Official Transcript that confirms you've completed your study program
      • You can request this by going to MyOntarioTech and going to the Students records box after you've selected Current student. You can find more information regarding the fees and processing times, on the Office of the Registrar's website.
    • A letter from the university indicating program completion or formal notification of graduation. 

    You must speak to the Office of the Registrar (undergraduate students) or the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (graduate students) when your completion letter and official transcripts will become available before you confirm the start date with a potential employer. 

    Learn more on the Government of Canada website and download a document checklist.  

  • When can I apply?

    You become eligible once you have successfully completed your program of study. 

    Apply for your PGWP within 180 days of when you receive written confirmation (for example, formal written notification of graduation) from the university that you have met your program requirements.

    If you plan on staying in Canada and your study permit will expire before you apply for a PGWP, change your status to a visitor before it expires.

  • Can I apply for a post-graduation work permit before I get my diploma?

    You don’t have to wait until you physically receive your diploma or attend your graduation ceremony to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

    All you need to apply for a PGWP is

    • An official letter from your school that confirms you’ve completed your study program, or
    • An official transcript or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website.

    You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a post-graduation work permit. To be eligible for a PGWP, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.

    When your study permit expires

    Your study permit will expire on the date marked on the permit or 90 days after the day you complete your studies, whichever comes first.

    If your study permit expires, you must either:

  • Can I apply for a PGWP if I study online from outside Canada?
    Please check the information on the IRCC website.
  • Can I apply for a PGWP if I study online from inside Canada?
    Please check the information on the IRCC website.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I work if I am part-time in my final semester?
    You must have continuously studied full-time in Canada. However, if you meet all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status during the final academic session, you are still considered eligible for this program and may work off-campus.
  • Can I work while waiting for confirmation from the university that I have graduated?
    You can check "Off-campus work and completion of a program of studies" information on the IRCC website.
  • What is considered as the confirmation that I have graduated?

    The confirmation of graduation can be one of the following, but not limited to: 

    (1) Email from Ontario Tech University indicating that you have graduated

    (2) School Completion Letter 

    (3) Final Official Transcript with degree conferred 

    (4) Degree/Diploma 

    You can also confirm with your International Student Advisor. 

  • Can I work while waiting for my PGWP?

    You can work full-time until IRCC makes a decision on your work permit application if you

    Please note: Your study permit will expires on whichever date comes first:

    • the date marked on the permit or 
    • 90 days after the day you complete your studies

    More information regarding "When do the 90 days begin?" can be found on the IRCC website

    You can check "How can I show a potential employer I'm allowed to work while I wait for my post-gradaution work permit?" on the IRCC website

  • How long will it take to receive my PGWP?
    You can check the processing time on the IRCC website.
  • I'm waiting for my post-graduation work permit. Can I travel outside Canada and come back with my student permit?

    According to the IRCC website, you can leave Canada and return, as long as your visa or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) is still valid. Your permit (study or work) is not a visa and doesn't allow you to travel back to Canada.

    If your temporary resident visa or eTA is expired, you have to get a new one before you return to Canada.

    When you return to Canada:

    • You may enter as a student if your study permit is still valid.
    • If we approve your post-graduation work permit while you’re away, you may enter as a worker.
    • If we’re still processing your post-graduation work permit, you may enter as a visitor, and you can work without a work permit until we make a decision on your application.

    A border officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. The officer may ask you for proof that you applied for a post-graduation work permit, such as a copy of your application or the fee payment receipt.

    If the officer believes there is reason to refuse your re-entry, you won’t be able to enter Canada.

  • Can I work anywhere, in any type of job, under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program?

    The post-graduation work permit is an open work permit. This means that you can work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and change employers any time you wish.

    Note: You may not work for an employer on the ineligible employers list.

  • There‚Äôs a specific employment location on my post-graduation work permit. Can I work somewhere else?

    According to the IRCC website, it depends on where the employment location information is on your work permit.

    If the location is under Additional Information

    You can work in any location across Canada. You don’t need to apply to change your work permit. If you have a co-op work permit, your work must be required to complete your study program.

    Sample work permit with employment location under “Additional information” indicated with red arrow and boxFigure 1. Employment location information under the Additional Information section of a sample work permit.

    If the location is under Conditions or Remarks/Observations

    You must work at the location on your permit. You must apply to change the conditions of your work permit if you want to work in a different location. To do this, you’ll need to apply for a new work permit from within Canada. Select Inside Canada to find out how you can apply for your new permit. Include a letter explaining why you need the condition removed from your work permit with your application.

    Sample work permit with employment location indicated with a red arrow and boxFigure 2. Employment location information under the Conditions section of a sample work permit.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not a legal document and information may change without notice. Please refer to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for the most up to date information.