October 21, 2023

Having a PGWP and remaining in Canada after graduation

International students contribute to the rich and diverse academic landscape in Canada, bringing fresh perspectives and enriching the learning environment. Canada takes pride in being a preferred destination for students seeking educational and life opportunities. A significant number of international students express their desire to stay in Canada after graduation, with a majority aiming to become Canadian permanent residents. One important pathway towards this goal is through Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program. In this article, we will explore the eligibility criteria, application process, and the benefits of having a PGWP in Canada.


Understanding the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program is a valuable initiative offered by the Canadian government to international students who have completed their studies at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada. This program allows eligible graduates to work in Canada for a period of time, providing them with valuable professional experience and an opportunity to contribute to the Canadian workforce. One of the key benefits of the PGWP program is that it allows graduates to work in Canada without the requirement of having a job offer at the time of application. This means that graduates have the freedom to explore various employment opportunities and choose the one that aligns with their career goals and aspirations. This flexibility is particularly beneficial as it allows graduates to gain exposure to the Canadian job market and develop their skills in a professional setting. The length of the permit is determined by the duration of the educational program completed.


PGWP Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for a PGWP, applicants must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Completion of studies at an eligible DLI in an academic, vocational, or professional training program.
  • Receipt of a transcript and an official letter confirming program completion.
  • Maintained full-time student status in Canada throughout the academic sessions of the program.
  • Graduation from a recognized Canadian institution.


Distance Learning and PGWP Eligibility

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students studying at DLIs via distance learning may still be eligible for a PGWP. Certain exceptions and date-specific rules apply to these cases, ensuring fair opportunities for international students who had to adapt to online learning.


PGWP Application Process

Applicants have six months from the day they receive their official transcript and completion letter to submit their PGWP application. The process involves gathering essential documents, such as a degree or diploma, an official letter from the educational institution, and an official transcript. The application can be submitted online or on paper, depending on the applicant's location.


Key Information About the PGWP

The validity of the PGWP is determined by the duration of the completed educational program. The guidelines state that programs under eight months do not qualify for a PGWP. Programs between eight months and two years result in a PGWP of matching length, while programs exceeding two years allow for a three-year PGWP. Graduates who have completed multiple programs may have the option to combine their PGWPs.


How a PGWP Can Accelerate the Path to Permanent Residence

Holding a PGWP provides a valuable advantage when applying for permanent residence in Canada. The work experience gained during the PGWP period can be crucial for meeting the eligibility requirements of several permanent residence programs. To be eligible for some programs, a PGWP holder needs to accumulate at least one year of professional work experience in a National Occupational Classification (NOC) code of 0, A, or B. The Canadian immigration system often looks favorably upon applicants who have studied and worked in the country.



Canada's Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program offers international graduates the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and potentially transition to permanent residency. By meeting the eligibility criteria and successfully obtaining a PGWP, international students can extend their stay in Canada, contribute to the workforce, and enhance their chances of obtaining permanent residence. The PGWP acts as a bridge between education and professional growth, strengthening the bond between international students and Canada's thriving multicultural society.


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