If you have graduated from one of the PGWP-eligible schools and would like to stay in Canada, you can do that. The secret is in the Canadian program of PGWP – Post Graduation Work Permit. This type of work permit allows you to stay in Canada beyond your program of study, for as long as you pass the eligibility requirements.

This way, you can gain Canadian work experience. The PGWP work permit lasts anywhere between 8 months and three years and is a good way for you to immigrate to Canada or just prolong your stay – whatever you prefer. When it comes to the program itself, it is very popular among international students, as it allows them to get Canadian Permanent Residences without much hassle.

The entire program of PGWP meaning is hidden in the fact that many students can start looking for a job while studying. In fact, if you have a valid study permit, you probably have a work permit coming with it. You can use this work permit to help you work in the field and help support yourself while in Canada (as the country is not cheap), and then you can use the PGWP program to simply keep working at the same workplace. Let’s now go and consider what is PGWP and how you can get one.

What Is Canada PGWP or Post-Graduation Work Permit

If you are a student in Canada and are looking for a Canadian Work Visa, there may be a simpler way and that is the PGWP or the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. With this program, you can apply for a work permit that is open and allows you to work for any employer that you would like. When it comes to the program, it is available to almost all graduates in Canada and it allows you to stay in Canada for a period of up to three years.

The program is available to all who have studied in an approved or Designated Learning Institution. However, for all international students who have a legal study permit in Canada, this does not bring about much of a difference, as the study permit itself is only available for Designated Learning Institutions or DLIs. Here are examples of schools and educational institutions that you can get a PGWP from:

  • a college in Canada
  • a University in Canada
  • a trade school in Canada
  • a technical school in Canada
  • CEGEP in Quebec
  • private post-secondary schools that operate as public schools do
  • private secondary and post-secondary schools that offer study programs longer than 900 hours and lead to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP)
  • private schools in Canada that can legally offer degrees under provincial laws

Eligibility Criteria for PGWP

Getting a job in Canada is easy after attending one of their DLIs. Even during the studies, as a full-time student, you can look for a job, and work there (20 hours a week during the classes/instruction and more than 20 hours a week during breaks (such as the summer or spring break). However, if you would like to keep working even after your studies are finished, you will need to pass some eligibility criteria and apply for the PGWP to be able to keep working:

  • You need to have studied continuously and full-time while in Canada. If you did not study full-time, it is still possible to get the PGWP, but the total duration of your studies will be reduced to the time a full-time student would have spent on the same program, and you will get your PGWP for this duration, but not longer than 3 years,
  • You will need to have graduated from one of the eligible schools for PGWP (look above), and will need to have graduated
  • You will also need to have received the graduation letter (also known as the completion letter)
  • You will need to have your official transcript
  • You will need to have spent at least 900 hours studying in your program
  • You will need to have a valid study permit
  • You will need to have an overall legal status in Canada
  • You will need to NOT have applied and gotten the PGWP before – as it can only be issued once per graduated student
  • You have had more than 50% of your classes conducted in person. Online courses and remote courses (if fully remote/online) are not acceptable for the program

If you satisfy all the aforementioned eligibility criteria, you will also need to be able to make online applications. You can also apply for the PGWP program even outside of Canada which was not the case before. It is also important to note that students who did an accelerated program will also have their study program recalculated to how long it would have taken a full-time student to finish the same program.

After your study program is finished, you will have 180 days to apply for the PGWP. If you decide to apply 90 or more days after your study program has been finished, you will need to apply for the TRV and change your legal status to visitor. During this period, you will not be able to work. For this reason, it is always best to apply for the PGWP (Post-Graduation Work Permit) within 90 days of your course completion.

As the PGWP can only be issued once per student or a graduate, it is important to note that you need to be strategic with your application process. If you would like to do graduate and post-graduate level studies in Canada, it is best to look at how long each of the programs is. Your education institution will have this information on its website. Then, you can choose after which level of study you will apply for the PGWP program, as the PGWP will only be issued to the length of the study program, but no longer than 3 years. Applying for one after a one-year Master’s program barely pays off, especially if you did a 4-year Bachelor’s in a Canadian University before.

PGWP Application Guide in Canada

When applying for the PGWP, you can choose two ways to apply: on paper or online. When it comes to paper applications, you will have to fill out all the required forms, attach all the required supporting documents, and pay the fee. You will have to include the proof of payment in the letter when sending it. The letter should be sent to:

Case Processing Centre in Edmonton
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada
c/o Student work permits/Same employer, Station 202
9700 Jasper Avenue NW, Suite 55
Edmonton, AB T5J 4C3

Make sure to write your name and address at the top left-hand corner when addressing the letter. Also, make sure to specify whether you are applying for a PGWP or International Co-Op Extension.

When applying online, the procedure will be a bit different. You will need a document checklist, all the supporting documents, and a credit or debit card. When it comes to the supporting documents, they will need to be scanned and available to you in an electronic form for uploading them to the platform. The card will be used to pay a CAD25,00 processing fee and you will need to fill in all the documents with fields to be filled in before scanning them.

An online application is always our recommendation. Paper applications have a similar processing time, however, it is necessary to understand that the time it takes these applications to be posted to their destination adds to the processing times. Furthermore, if you have forgotten to submit any documents, it will take additional time to process the application, which will be halted until the missing documents are shipped to the processing center.

PGWP Processing Application

When applying for PGWP, you should know that you cannot apply while still having a full-time student status. When it comes to the graduate programs, you can find them on the eligible program list, and you will need to have finished all the prerequisites for that program (to have graduated) to be able to apply for the PGWP program as a foreign student. You will have a period of up to six months in duration to submit your application.

During this time, for as long as you have gas a valid study permit with a work permit (or work that is allowed through the study permit itself), you will have the right to keep working during the application procedure. However, to do this, you will need to make sure you submit the application in the first 180 days from the time you have graduated. When it comes to where you can apply from, it used to be the case that you had to be in Canada to apply for the program. Today, however, you can also apply from outside of Canada as well. Please understand that the documents you will be asked to provide will be different depending on where you come and apply from, so make sure to check with Visa Offices directly, as these documents are prone to change.

PGWP Validity Period

So, if you have graduated from one of the PGWP-eligible programs, you can now apply for the PGWP – Post Graduation Work Permit. This can be done after the last academic session took place and after you have officially graduated. Many permanent residents used access to this program to make sure they increased their chances of getting Canadian PR. However, the PGWP is not issued for an indefinite amount of time.

The PGWP program is issued for a maximum of three years, or for the length of your studies, whichever period is shorter. So, if you were, for example, enrolled in a 2-year Master’ program, this is the maximum validity period of your PGWP. When it comes to those who have studied part-time, the part-time will be converted to full-time. So, even though you could have spent 4 years working on a 2-year MA program, you will still get your PGWP for 2 years only.

There are also some cases when post-graduate work permits are issued for a shorter period. The main reason for this is the immigration officer’s discretion or the validity period of your passport. When it comes to the latter, you will need to have a passport that will be valid for at least 3 years to reap all the benefits that the program has to offer.

PGWP College List in Canada

International graduates who have finished their studies in Canada will need to prove that they have graduated from an institution of learning that has a designated learning institution status. In addition to this, the academic program will also need to have been carried out in one of the official languages in Canada (English or French) and will need to have been completed with more than 50% of classes being carried out in person. For this reason, be careful with online program attendance and remote study options – they are great for students who prefer to stay home, but an eligible study program or an education program will need to have been carried out mostly in person to be able to apply for Canadian work permits.

PGWP Canada Processing Time

PGWP application guide states that some 80-180 days of PGWP Canada processing time is needed once your application has been received. This is another reason why we recommend that you apply early and apply online. Shaving off one to two weeks of shipping time can make a big difference, especially for those prone to forgetting to submit all the documents.

So, Canada’s PGWP processing time is among the shortest, especially if you are looking for ways to immigrate to Canada. Being fast and punctual is still necessary as 180 days between program completion and your application submission (the maximum period of 180 days after graduation) pass by very quickly. When it comes to the processing time itself, there is not much you can do, but make sure you submit all your documents in one go.

Applying for a Work Permit Through PGWP

You can apply for the PGWP Canada meaning that you can access this program only if you have finished a course of studies in a Canadian DLI. During this time, you can work, although part-time, and then you can apply for the PGWP – giving you additional time to work in Canada. When it comes to this work experience, you can use it later on to apply for a regular work permit. Never forget that the PGWP can only be issued ONCE.

However, if you would still like to stay in Canada and work for a longer time, you can do that as well. You can use the PGWP work experience to apply for Canadian permanent residence through one of the following Canadian immigration pathways:

  • the CEC program – the Canadian Experience Class program (under the Express Entry program)
  • The FSW program – the Federal Skilled Worker program (under the Express Entry program)
  • the PNP programs – the Provincial Nominee Programs (also under the Express Entry program, but available as basic streams, or standalone immigration options)
  • the Quebec Immigration Programs

When it comes to the Federal Skilled Trades program, it may be possible to apply for these as well, especially if you have graduated from a Canadian school on a secondary level (high school). The PGWP may be a bit of an overshoot here, as the program is aimed to provide a post-secondary level of education, but the FST looks to employ people with a secondary level of education.

Check Out to Apply for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada:

Immigrating to Canada Through PGWP

The PGWP full-form program is intended for all international students who can meet the basic requirement – having finished a certain level of study in Canada. The entry requirements are simple enough for almost anyone to be able to fulfill them as long as they are a dedicated student. When it comes to using this program to immigrate to Canada, it can be used as a stepping stone in getting the PR – Permanent Resident status in Canada.

To be able to do so, you will first need to have been enrolled in a Canadian DLI. This is done by applying for them and then applying for a Canadian study permit once your application to a Canadian college or University is finished. When it comes to the study process itself, it is much better to be enrolled as a full-time student and to finish all your college or University requirements as soon as possible. During this time, you should seek part-time employment, up to 20 hours when the classes are in session, and more during the breaks.

This is all done while your student visa and student work permit are valid. Countless students work and study in Canada, all at the same time. After the studies, eligible students can apply for the PGWP and get it for the maximum duration of the cumulative duration of their studies program. This means that even those who want a lighter course load and have extended their studies will only be able to get the PGWP work permit for the full-time duration of their studies.

This PGWP work permit can last for a maximum period of 3 years, and during this time, you will be able to work. Considering that you can wait for a total of 180 days before applying for the program, that it takes up to 180 days until the application is processed, and that the PGWP has a validity of up to 3 years, you can squeeze out a maximum of almost 4 years that you can spend working in Canada.

This is plenty of time to gain enough work experience to apply for any of the above-mentioned programs. Beware that additional criteria do apply for each of the immigration programs and that an application in the process can take around 6 months to be processed, without the time it may spend in the pool of candidates for most of these programs.

While your application is being processed, you can also get the Bridging Open Work Permit. This work permit is intended for all who would like to keep working while their PR application or an application for a new work permit is being processed. This way, you do not have to take any breaks from your job and your employer and you are likely to be a much more competitive person in the labour market.


How Many Times Can I Apply for Pgwp?

You can only apply once for a PGWP – Post Graduation Work Permit. When it comes to the application itself, it is easy to see why – as a Post-Graduation program, it is available only once, when you have completed all the requirements. For this reason, you should be careful when you apply, especially if you are finishing several levels of study in Canada. When it comes to the average processing time, it is up to six months long, and you can work in most of these cases.

Why a PGWP Is Refused?

Most often, your PGWP application may be refused when you have been working in Canada before school started or when you have worked more hours than is necessary. Sometimes, immigration officers can make a mistake, too, so make sure you check the decline letter carefully and see if this is the case.

What Happens After PGWP in Canada?

Several things can happen after your PGWP Canada experience. You can pay the application processing fee and submit documents for permanent resident status. You can also keep working until your PGWP expires, or you can simply go back home if education and some work experience were your goals in Canada.

Is 1 Year Of PGWP Enough?

1 year of the PGWP program is enough for you to explore the job opportunities offered in Canada and to gain valuable work experience. However, it is necessary to check the total duration of your PGWP, as you may be eligible for more. A 1-year PGWP will generally be issued to those who have spent 1 year studying in Canada. If you have spent more time as a student in this beautiful country, it is necessary to understand that you may need to check your passport validity and any other factors that may have contributed to a shorter PGWP being issued to you.

What to Do After 1 Year PGWP Expires?

After your 1-year PGWP expires, you can apply for a different work permit, if this is allowed by your employment status and your good conduct in Canada. In addition to this, you can also try to use your work experience in Canada and make a separate application for an immigration stream that you may prefer. If none of these work for you, returning to your home country is also a good idea. In any case, an official letter will inform you about your rights in Canada on the PGWP program, and you can decide if this works for your personal and career goals or not.

Final Thoughts

The PGWP program is a great chance for all international students in Canada to stay there and make a difference in their lives. Unlike a visitor visa, the PGWP has a long validity period of up to three years. It also allows you to work in Canada, gain work experience, and use it later on to join one of Canadian immigration programs. When it comes to education itself, it is necessary to note that you can use this education worldwide, as Canada is renowned for their excellent schooling system.