Post-Graduation Work Permits

Many international students who complete post-secondary education in Canada wish to stay and obtain Canadian work experience.

Once they have completed their studies in an eligible program at an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution, international graduates can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which allows them to work in Canada.

In its effort to retain international students, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) operates a Post-Graduate Work Permit Program. Under this program, international graduates may obtain a three year open work permit, allowing them to work for any Canadian employer in any industry. They are not required to have a Canadian job offer at the time of application.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, international students must:

  • be 18 or older when you apply
  • have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a study program at least eight months long
  • have a document from your school (transcript, official letter, certificate, etc.) that confirms you completed and passed all your program requirements
  • have graduated from a:
    • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school or university, or CEGEP in Quebec or
    • private post-secondary school that operates under the same rules as public schools (currently applies only to certain private post-secondary institutions in Quebec) or
    • private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) or
    • Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law (for example, Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree) but only if you are enrolled in a study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province
  • apply for a work permit within 90 days of when it was confirmed that you completed your program and
  • have a valid study permit when you apply for the work permit.

You aren’t eligible to apply for a PGWP if you:

  • studied in a program that was less than eight months long
  • studied for more than eight months but not continuously (for example, you took a semester off)
  • took part in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • took part in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC
  • had funding from GAC
  • took part in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • took part in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
  • took part in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed a study program by distance learning either from abroad or from within Canada or
  • already had a post-graduation work permit following any other program of study.
For more information about the PGWP