Canada's PGWP: How to Stay in Canada After Graduation

April 7, 2022


  • Kelia Losa Reinoso

Congratulations on becoming a Canadian graduate. Perhaps you have become accustomed to living in Canada while you studied, and you may want to extend your stay in Canada after graduation.Now that you want to live, work and travel in Canada, you need to find a route that works for you.

A work permit is a good option, but it can be challenging to get, especially without a job offer. You may have heard about the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). These are great pathways to get Canadian work experience and explore the country.

Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students. Every year, over 350,000 international students from all over the world come to Canada to pursue their studies.

Many students choose to study in Canada because of the PGWP in order to work in Canada after Graduation. If you are an international student in Canada and want to learn how to apply for a post-graduate work permit , this step-by-step guide is for you.

Step 1: Graduate From a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is a work permit that is "open" and issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Open work permits give you the permission to work for any employer in Canada and do not limit you to a specific employer or location.

Students who have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI)can earn important Canadian work experience through the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). DLIs are post-secondary institutions that are endorsed by the Canadian government to enroll international students. Post-graduation work permits (PGWP) are not renewable, meaning that you can only apply for this visa once.

The PGWP's goal is to assist overseas students in gaining the necessary Canadian work experience to apply for permanent residency in Canada. To apply for a PGWP, you must first satisfy the qualifying requirements.

Step 2: Meet The Requirements

To be eligible for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program, you must:

Have studied full-time in Canada for at least eight months and finished a program of study;

  • Have finished an academic, vocational, or professional training program at a public post-secondary institution such as a college, trade/technical school, university, or a private post-secondary institution that follows the same norms and regulations as public institutions;
  • Apply within 180 days after getting formal proof from your university (for example, a transcript or an official letter) that you have satisfied the requirements for finishing your academic program; and
  • Have valid study permission. Your application will be denied if you do not have a valid study permit when you apply. If your study permit has expired, but you applied to extend it before it did, you may be eligible for the PGWP.

PGWP Validity Period

The period of validity for this visa will depend on how long you studied in Canada. You must have studied for a minimum of eight months to be eligible for this visa. If you studied anything between eight months and two years, you will get a one-year PGWP. If you studied for two years in Canada, your PGWP would last you three years.

The latter option is better, as it affords you the opportunity to gain more job experience. Only studying for one year before applying is a high-risk strategy. You must finish two years of study in Canada to be eligible for a three-year PGWP. With only a one-year PGWP, it might be challenging to get a full year of specialized work experience in Canada.

Step 3: Apply for Post Graduate Work Permit

You have 180 days after receiving your final grades from your institution to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Visa. Your study permit must have been valid at some time during these 180 days in order to be eligible for a PGWP.

As long as you retain legal status, you can remain in Canada while awaiting permanent residence. Temporary resident status is only valid for a limited time, and you must guarantee that your status as a temporary resident is maintained while you are in Canada.

Temporary Resident Visas (TVRs) allow Post-Graduate Work Permit candidates to remain in the country for a short period of time. When a Post-Graduation Work Permit application is filed from outside Canada, a TRV is granted once the post-graduation work permit is approved.

PGWP costs

  1. PGWP processing fee - $155.00
  2. Open work permit holder charge - $100.00

PGWP processing time

You could be waiting between 80 and 180 days to get a result back on your PGWP. The good news is that you are able to work in Canada while waiting for your PGWP if you applied before your student permit expires.

Step 4: Start Working

You can work full-time while awaiting a decision on your post-graduation work permit application if at the time you submitted your application:

  1. you held a valid study permit
  2. had finished your program of study
  3. were authorized to work off-campus without permission

Although it may seem like a very long time, in this case, the lengthy PGWP processing time is not necessarily a negative.


Do I need a job offer to apply for PGWP?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) permits you to stay in Canada and work full-time after completing an eight-month certificate, diploma, or degree. You do not need a job offer to apply, and you may work in any occupation in Canada, even if it is not in the same field as your studies.

Can I stay in Canada while waiting for PGWP?

Leaving and re-entering Canada does not preclude you from working full-time while you wait for the decision on your PGWP.

Can I work part-time before applying for PGWP?

Even if you have a valid study permit, you cannot work full-time or part-time after receiving your final college transcripts. You must first apply for PGWP before continuing to work under implied status.

How can I stay in Canada after PGWP expires?

If you want to stay in Canada after you graduate, you can apply for PGWP. However, when your PGWP expires, you can either apply for a work permit and stay for a few more years or if you want to stay on a more permanent basis, you can apply for permanent residency through one of the following programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)
  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Atlantic Immigration Program
  • Quebec immigration

Find out if you’re eligible for a PGWP

If you think you meet the eligibility criteria for this visa, contact us today. Get a full evaluation and a guide to your visa. Find out how you can stay in Canada after graduation and beyond your PGWP. By contacting us today, we’ll introduce you to a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), a professional in Canadian immigration who will assist you with your application to stay in Canada and boost your career!