International & Exchange  Student CentreWestern International

Post-Graduation Work Permit

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain up to three years of Canadian work experience. 

A Post-Graduation Work Permit can be used to work “anywhere in Canada, and in any field, as it is an open work permit.”1

As of February 2016, applicants can apply either from Canada or from their home country, if they are returning home. STUDENTS MUST BE CAUTIOUS - the online payment system is experiencing a fee payment problem. If you are planning to submit your PGWP application online from outside of Canada, please see the following solution to technical problem. Failure to include the correct application fees (total $255 CAD) WILL result in application rejection.

When to Apply

Applicants must apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from the educational institution indicating that they have met the requirements for completing their program of study. Calculation of the 90 days begins the day when the student’s final marks are issued or when formal written notification of program completion is received.”2

"Your study permit must continue to be valid when you submit your application for a work permit."3 If your Study Permit expires before the end of this period, you can apply for an extension. You must apply for the extension of your Study Permit before it expires.

Graduating students can participate in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program only once, regardless of the number of degrees completed in Canada.4

How Long Will the PGWP be Valid For?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit "may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A post-graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.”5

If you studied for...Then...

less than eight months

you are not eligible for this program

less than two years but more than eight months

you may get a work permit for a period no longer than the length of your program of study (for example, if you studied for nine months, a work permit may be issued for a period of nine months)

two years or more

a work permit may be issued for three years

Information in the chart above is quoted from CIC's website

Note: “Students holding a one‑year graduate degree or diploma from a provincially or territorially accredited post‑secondary educational/training institution in Canada after having obtained, within the prior two years, a diploma or degree from an accredited post‑secondary educational/training institution in Canada may qualify for a three‑year work permit. This exception also applies to students who have left Canada temporarily between programs of study.”6  See CIC`s Operational Bulletin - 194 for specific examples.

For more information visit CIC's information on the impact of length of program of study in Canada and the length of the work permit.

How to Apply

  1. Determine your eligibility to apply for an Post-Graduation Work Permit.

  2. Read the Applying for a Work Permit - Student Instruction Guide [IMM 5580] before you begin your application.

  3. Check CIC's application processing times. It can take weeks or months to process an application. Apply early!

  4. Decide how you will apply.
    1. Apply online. You will need access to a scanner or camera to create electronic copies, and a credit card.

      Tip: IESC has binders with step-by-step information about online application procedures. Sign out the binders for use at the IESC during our office hours.

      Note: "
      Clients cannot apply for a post-graduation work permit online if their country of residence is not Canada. However, if they are temporarily abroad and they meet the eligibility requirements for the PGWPP, they should be counselled to apply on paper through an overseas visa office or a visa application centre (VAC). Those foreign nationals who are eligible to apply for a work permit at a port of entry (POE) may also apply for a post-graduation work permit through that channel.”7

    2. Apply by mail.

      An application kit includes the following:
      • Document Checklist [IMM 5583]
      • Application Form [IMM 5710]

  5. Prepare all of your forms and documents.

    Review the Document Checklist for Applicants in Canada [IMM 5583] from the application kit (for paper applications) or the list of documents in your myCIC account (for online applications) to find out which documents are required.

    One of the required documents is a recent letter from Western University stating that you have completed all of the requirements for your program of study.

    Be sure to provide all of the required documents to avoid any delays in your application.
  6. Pay your application fee.

    Student must pay their fees online.

  7. Review and submit your application.

    Make sure that your application is complete and signed before submitting it, otherwise CIC will return or reject your incomplete application and this could result in becoming "out of status".8

    Tip: Before submitting your application, it is strongly recommended to make a photocopy of your application, along with the documentation that you will be submitting, to keep for your records.

Employment During the Transition Period After Graduation

Students who have an Off-Campus Work Permit

Transition from off-Campus Work Permits to Post-Graduation Work Permits
“Students can apply for a post-graduation work permit—a one-time opportunity—during the 90-day transition period on completion of their academic program if they fulfill all of the requirements for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Since the validity period of an off-campus work permit is usually the same as the student’s study period (the duration of the academic program plus 90 days), they do not have to surrender their off-campus work permit to apply. They can continue to work under the Off-Campus Work Permit provided that they hold both a valid study permit and a valid off-campus work permit. Employment during this transition period can be full time.”9

Students who do NOT have an Off-Campus Work Permit

Effective from June 1, 2014, international students who would like to work full-time without a work permit after the completion of their studies must first submit an application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (before the expiry of their Study Permit).  You will then be allowed to start full-time work while you are waiting for Citizenship and Immigration Canada to issue a decision on your Post-Graduation Work Permit application.   For more information, please see Regulation 186(w).

Employment After your PGWP Expires

Effective from June 2014, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has cancelled the previous “Recruitment and Advertisement Exemption for employers wishing to hire international students who have graduated from recognized Canadian post-secondary institutions and whose Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) is expiring.

Employers submitting a labour market opinion (LMO) to hire an individual transitioning from the PGWP must now ensure that they meet all of the Program requirements for the applicable stream:

Bridging Open Work Permit for Permanent Residence Applicants

If you submit an application for Permanent Residency under certain categories, you may be eligible to apply for a bridging open work permit before your Post-Graduation Work Permit expires.  “To be eligible for a bridging open work permit, you must:

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