Post Graduation Work Permit – An overview

post graduation work permitPGWP REQUIREMENTS

Students who have completed a degree at a Canadian learning institution can obtain a Post Graduation Work Permit with the following benefits:

  • No job offer requirement
  • A duration of up to 3 years (depending on the official length of program completed)
  • Eligibility for Provincial Healthcare

One of the main motivators to obtain a Post Graduation Work Permit is to gather skilled Canadian work experience.

This helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian experience class. Students can apply only once in their life.


The application must be filed within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from the learning institution. This confirmation must indicate that the student has met the requirements for completing the academic program. This can be a transcript or an official letter.

Students who are past the 90 days have low chances of having the Post Graduation Work Permit approved. They will need to restore their status back to student status since applicants need to be holding a valid study permit in order to obtain a Post Graduation Work Permit. The restoration can take several months to process.


To be eligible, the student and the educational institution must meet the requirements as set by the Canadian Immigration website.

If a student meets all the eligibility requirements, with the exception of full-time status during their final academic session, they are still considered to be eligible for this program. Foreign nationals are also able to work part time or be self-employed under this type of work permit. However, please keep in mind that self – employed work does not constitute skilled work experience as required under the Canadian Experience Program. A work permit under the program may be issued for the length of the study program.

TIP: It is highly recommended to run a thorough check on any private post – secondary school when making a decision on studying Canada with the aim to immigrate permanently. Sometimes, graduates receive Post Graduate Work Permits even though their school is not on the list of eligible learning institutions. This can lead to false expectations. Such a list exists on provincial level, for example for British Columbia.


Quebec graduates planning to stay in Quebec can obtain Canadian Permanent Residency under the Quebec Experience Program. In order to qualify for the program, applicants must prove a B2 level of French (advanced‐intermediate proficiency) OR have completed their program of study completely in French.

Skilled work experience in Quebec also qualifies the Post Graduation Work Permit holder to apply for Canadian Permanent Residency under the Canadian Experience Program, provided that the Work Permit holder plans to live outside of Quebec.


Students can apply online or at a Port of Entry (Terrestrial/Land Border or Airport).


To be eligible to apply for a Work Permit at a Port of Entry, students must be TRV exempt. Please note that individuals who are required to have a TRV to enter Canada are TRV – exempt if they hold a valid Study Permit or Work Permit and are traveling only to the US and back. (IRPA Secction 190 (3) (f)).

However, officers may require that students from non visa-exempt countries apply online for the Post-Graduate Work Permit once in Canada. Therefore, it is recommended that foreign nationals who require a TRV and want to apply for a Work Permit at a Port of Entry do so at a US/Canada Land Border.


Students may apply online either from within Canada, or from outside Canada. However, please bear in mind that processing times will vary by country.


The TRV is valid regardless of whether it was issued to the person as a student or worker. Therefore, applicants can enter Canada with a TRV – “student” and a work permit.

Applicants who apply for their Post Graduation Work Permit from outside of Canada will be automatically issued a new TRV/eTA upon expiry of their previous TRV/eTA. The officer will issue it at the same time as the documents required to enter Canada as a worker.

Individuals applying for their Post Graduate Work Permit from inside of Canada will NOT be issued a TRV or an eTA automatically. A separate application is required if they are expired.


You can leave Canada and return if you have applied for your Post Graduation Work Permit (and your study permit has expired). Depending on your country of citizenship and the expiry date of your study permit, you need a TRV or an eTA, unless you are an American citizen.

  • Once at the border, the officer may grant you access as temporary worker if a positive decision on your application has been made while you were outside of Canada.
  • If no decision was made at this point, the officer might also ask you to re – apply for a Work Permit or request proof that you are able to support yourself while waiting for the decision.

For complete details, visit the Immigration Canada website

Avenue Canada is a Montreal based immigration consultant firm. For further information on our services, contact us today!

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