How to Get A Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada

March 19, 2021


  • Nicky Van Zyl

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is one of the most sought-after work permits in Canada. It was the leading stream of work permits (35%) obtained under the International Mobility Program in 2020. Obtaining a PGWP has helped thousands of international graduates gain significant Canadian work experience that led to permanent job offers and a better chance at qualifying for immigration programs.  If you’re thinking about studying in Canada or are currently an international student enrolled at a Canadian post-secondary institution then you should read everything in this guide to plan your future in Canada after you graduate with a world-class qualification! 

The Journey to Getting a Canadian Post-Graduate Work Permit  

Steps to Get a Post-Graduate Work Permit_Infographic

Step 1: Enroll at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada

Do you have a college or university in mind for your studies in Canada? It’s very important that you choose an eligible post-secondary institution or DLI that is approved by the government of Canada for PGWP purposes. There are approximately 1500 DLI’s across the country that offer PGWP eligible study programs and courses for international students. On that note, it’s also important that you enroll for a study program that’s longer than 8-months to be eligible for a PGWP after you graduate. The good news is that the top 5 universities in Canada are DLIs, such as the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, McGill University, McMaster university and the University of Montreal. 

Evergreen College

As a leading immigration and visa agency, we have a partnership with Evergreen College in Toronto and can assist prospective students enroll for study programs with better payment plan options.

Step 2: Apply for a Study Permit

As soon as you enroll at a DLI and are approved for a study program then you will receive an acceptance letter. This letter is needed when you apply for your study permit along with the following documents:
  • Proof of funds to cover your tuition fees, living costs and return travel;
  • Proof of a clean criminal record; and
  • Be in good health (you might need to complete a medical exam)
To study in Canada you need a student permit which costs $150 (CAD). If you are required to provide biometrics, there is an additional charge of $85. The price of your permit includes your visitor visa or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) which allows you to enter Canada and leave for holidays. Your study permit will be valid for the duration of your study program. 

Student Direct Stream

If you live in China, India, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Senegal or Vietnam, you may be able to get your study permit within 20 calendar days through the Student Direct Stream. These countries have an agreement with Canada that allows for faster processing times. If you’re applying from another country then you may wait up to 4 -12 weeks for your study permit. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get started on your application well before your study program starts. 

Step 3: Complete Your Study Program

 Thumbs Up. Classmates. Guys. Mantle. University. Cheerful. Celebration. Happiness. Intelligence. Diploma. University. Graduate. Happy. Good Mood. University. Cap. Campus. Architecture. Knowledge.

Canada is the world’s third-leading destination of international students, with a staggering 642,000 foreign students. The majority of students hail from countries such as the USA, China, South Korea, France, Vietnam, Iran, Brazil and Nigeria. 

Why do students choose Canada? 

  1. Canada’s reputation as a multicultural and welcoming nation combined with its high standard of education is the perfect recipe for an exceptional student experience. Canada offers up numerous cultural, sports and nightlife activities that appeals to students from all walks of life. 
  1. Though not cheap or free, Canada’s tuition rates compared to other countries such as the US, Australia and the UK, are more affordable.  A major reason for this is the Canadian dollar is weaker than the US  dollar, British pound, and the Euro. 
  1. Another great benefit for students is the opportunity to work while they study. International students can work up to 20 hours a week during academic periods and full-time during holidays. And who doesn’t like earning extra money to treat themselves, go out with friends or simply just to save up for something special?
  1. About 60% of international students have also reported that they are interested in becoming permanent residents of Canada after their studies and it’s entirely possible with the help of a Post-Graduate Work Permit. Find out more about how a PGWP can help you immigrate to Canada after your studies. 

Step 4: Apply for a PGWP

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What is the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program? 

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience in skilled occupations under NOC 0, A or B. With an open work permit you are free to work anywhere in Canada to kickstart your career. Your work permit will be valid for the same duration as your study permit. So if you completed a 9-month program then your permit will be valid for 9 months only. But if your program was 2 years or more then your PGWP could be valid for 3 years. 

What do you need to apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit? 

You have 180 days to apply for a PGWP after you get your final marks. You must hold a valid study permit by the time you apply and pay the $255 application fee. In addition, you need an official letter from your school that confirms you’ve completed your study program and an official transcript.     

Step 5: Start Working Towards a Future in Canada

With a world-class qualification behind your name and plenty of entry-level positions available in Canada, you can confidently enter one of the strongest economies in the world. The goal is to gain work experience equivalent to 1-year so that you can apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class program of the Express Entry immigration system. It’s one of the fastest immigration systems in Canada with processing times of just 6-months. 

What’s the Next Step? 

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Whether you want to study in Canada or apply for your PGWP, we can help make the process easier, quicker and most importantly, successful. MDC is a leading visa and immigration agency situated in Vancouver. Our team of certified visa consultants and student advisors provide professional and all-inclusive services to our international clients.  When applying with us we will provide you with the following: 
  • Help you find an eligible DLI that fits your budget and study plans;
  • Assist you in applying for a PGWP eligible study program;
  • Help you write a motivational letter for visa purposes;
  • Give you access to your very own student visa portal that allows you to upload documents and ask questions to your student advisor during the study permit application process; 
  • Optimize your application and apply for your study permit on your behalf; and 
  • Step-by-step guidance during the entire process
Take the first to Canada with a professional who you can trust with your future. Simply, fill in the contact form below for a consultation with one of our friendly agents.