Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Rules

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (“PGWPP“) allows students who have graduated from most Canadian public post-secondary institutions to stay and work in Canada upon graduation.  As someone who remembers the frustration of international students who had to leave Canada upon graduating even though they would have jumped at the opportunity to stay, work, and pay taxes in Canada, it is certainly a welcome program.

The PGWPP permits are open work permits. There is no requirement for a job offer prior to applying.  There is no restriction on the type of work that can be performed.

If an international student in Canada completes a post-secondary program of study that is two or more years, the student can apply for a three-year work permit. If the program of study is between eight months and two years, then the student will be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of the student’s  studies.

The application for the PGWPP must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification that you have met the requirements for graduation.

Combining Programs

One question that frequently arises is what would happen if a student obtains a second one-year diploma after having already completed a one-year diploma prior to that?  Would the student be eligible for a one year PGWPP or a two-year?

Pursuant to a recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada operational bulletin, it appears that the length of the two one-year degrees may be combined to obtain a three-year work permit.  The bulletin uses the example of a student who obtains a one-year diploma program in Canada, and then completes a one-year MBA.  Prior to this operational bulletin, many assume that the student would only have been eligible for a one-year work permit.  The recent bulletin, however, clarifies that a three-year work permit would be issued.

Implication of Doing a Victory Lap

A second clarification in the operational bulletin is that a student in the last session of a program of study needs to only take two additional classes in order to be eligible for the program.

For those that are doing what is known as a “victory lap”, or who have to take one or two courses to get their degree, this is also a welcome change.


One thought on “Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Rules

  1. Hello, Can I ask two quick questions here? My friend’s work permit has been approved on August 3rd but still has not yet received it. How long does it usually take for them to arrive? Can a person land a job contract without a work permit?

    Thanks in advance!

    Your blog is very helpful and organized. Would you please post more information on student visa or work permit. Most friends I met have questions about extending their stay after graduation (i.e. Change their status from a student to an immigrant & special conditions about work permit). I have a friend who is from Vietnam. She is a student right now and would like to know how she can stay in Canada permanently so she could sponsor her brother from Vietnam to come here in the future.

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