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Study to Canada PR: Applying for a Post-Graduate Work Permit

Many who come to Canada to study graduate with the hope of staying in Canada permanently. We highlight the most common ways this goal can be achieved through a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP). 

What Is A Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP)?

A Post-Graduate Work Permit also referred to as PGWPP (Post-Graduate Work Permit Program) allows students who have graduated from eligible Canadian designated learning institutions to obtain an open work permit to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

PGWP Processing Time

When applying for a PGWP you can expect to wait for 2 to 3 months.

PGWP Eligibility

If you are a Canadian graduate, you can apply for a PGWP if:

  • your study permit is still valid
  • you have a valid visitor record
  • you’ve submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expired and no decision has been made on your application
  • you submitted an application to change your status to a visitor before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application

Applicants can receive only 1 post-graduation work permit in their lifetime. To obtain a post-graduation work permit, the applicant must currently hold valid temporary status or have left Canada. They must have graduated from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI).

Applying for a PGWP Before Graduating

If you have received authorization from your designated learning institution (DLI) to take leave during their studies, you must include documentation proving the authorization in the application.

How to Apply for a Post-Graduate Work Permit

When applying for a PGWP, you will have up to 180 days to apply after you’ve received your degree, transcript, and an official letter from your school. You can do this from any country as long as you still qualify! If your student permit is going to expire before receiving these documents, you have two options:

  1. You can apply for a visitor visa to stay in Canada longer
  2. You can leave and apply outside of Canada
If your study permit expires before you apply

If you don’t adjust your status to a visitor and your study permit expires, you have 90 days after your study permit expires to apply for a PGWP and restore your status as a student. To restore your status as a student, you must

  • apply online for your PGWP and pay the correct fee ($255) 
  • pay the fee to restore your status as a student ($350)

Because of system limitations, you must pay the fees to restore your status as a student online and attach a copy of the receipt to your PGWP online application meaning you don’t need to make a separate application. Unfortunately, you can’t work until your study permit and work permit have been approved. If you don’t apply within the 90 days, or if the 90 days have already passed, you must leave Canada.

Study to Canada PR Process

Step 1: Apply for study permit

First, you must apply for your Canadian study permit and finish your studies! To apply for a study permit in Canada, you must get accepted to a qualified designated learning institution (DLI). Learn more about Canada study permits.

Step 2: Work while studying (optional)

Most international students studying in Canada like to take the opportunity to work while studying so they can not only gain work experience but cover their day-to-day expenses as a student. When studying in Canada you can work on-campus, off-campus, and apply to internships. Then you are ready for a Post-Graduate Work Permit!

Step 3: Apply for Post-Graduate Work Permit

Once you have graduated, you can apply for a PGWP to start gaining valuable Canadian work experience. You PGWP is based on how long your studies were!

Step 4: Apply for Express Entry (Canadian Experience Class)

Once you’ve received your degree and at least one year of Canadian work experience, you may be ready for permanent residency! The best option for graduates in this scenario usually applies for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) which is through Express Entry. This will enter you into an online lottery that will invite candidates to apply for Canada PR based on their CRS score. 

Related Article: CRS Score Calculator

Step 5: Recieve an ITA and Apply for Canada PR

Once your score is the cut-off score or higher within an Express Entry draw, you will receive an ITA (invitation to apply) allowing you to apply for Canada PR.

Can I Get Multiple PGWPs?

No, applicants can only receive one post-graduate work permit in their lifetime. However, you may be able to get a PGWP that combines the length of each program. You can’t get a PGWP if you’ve already had one after completing an earlier program of study.

How Long Is My PGWP Valid For?

Your Post-Graduate Work Permit’s validity is solely based on the length of your study program. You can learn more about your validity periods below:

If your program was less than 8 months

You are not valid for a Post-Graduate Work Permit!

If your program was at least 8 months, but less than 2 years

You may be granted a PGWP that’s valid for up to the same length as your study program. For example, if you completed a 9-month program, your work permit would be valid for 9 months.

If your program was 2 years or more

Your Post-Graduate Work Permit will be valid for up to 3 years!

If you completed more than 1 program

Each of the programs you completed must be

  • PGWP-eligible
  • at least 8 months in length

You can only receive one PGWP in your lifetime and you may get a PGWP that is valid for the study program lengths combined!

Call Us Today

The first step towards moving to Canada is to get an assessment of your specific situation. Call us today at 1.877.296.0874 for an assessment to see if you are eligible to move to Canada, or fill out our online assessment form.