How to Qualify for a post-study work permit in Canada

Canada is a popular choice for students from all over the world. International students come here to study because of the country’s friendly immigration policies, multicultural nature, and great education.

How to Qualify for a post-study work permit in Canada for International Students

However, what makes Canada even more attractive is its post-study work permit program, which allows international graduates to work and gain valuable work experience in Canada after completing their studies.

For many, this is not just an opportunity to extend their stay in the country but also a pathway to permanent residence.

If you are an international student currently studying in Canada and wish to stay back after your program, this guide will show you how you can qualify for a post-study work permit in Canada as an international student.

Whether you’re already studying in Canada, planning to come here for your education, or just curious about the possibilities that await international graduates, we will explain what you need to do to work in Canada post-graduation.

What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows international students who have completed eligible programs at designated learning institutions in Canada to work and gain valuable Canadian work experience. Through this permit, you can qualify for permanent residency.

Eligibility requirements

The post-graduate work permit is open to only students who have completed a program that meets the PGWP requirements so before you start the application process, make sure you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Completed a Designated Learning Program

To qualify for a PGWP, you must have completed a full-time program at a designated learning institution in Canada.

In addition, your program must be at least 8 months in duration for you to qualify for PGWP. If you completed a program that is less than 8 months in duration, you are not eligible for the PGWP.

Graduated from a recognized institution

Your institution must be authorized to grant degrees by the provincial or territorial government where it is located.

Before you apply for admission to any institution in Canada, head to the official Government of Canada website to verify the status of your institution.

Check if the institution is recognized by the government of Canada and is eligible to admit international students.

Apply within 180 days

If you want to qualify for the PGWP, you have 180 days (approximately 6 months) from the date you receive your final marks or notice of graduation to apply for a PGWP. If you fail to submit your application within this timeframe, it will be rejected by the authorities.

It has to come in before the 180-day timeframe elapses. Keep that in mind.

Clear immigration status

Make sure you have legal status in Canada before you apply for a PGWP. This means you must have a valid study permit when you submit your application. Do not wait till your study permit expires (within which you should be out of the country) before applying.

How to Apply for a post-study work permit in Canada for international students

If you have examined yourself and your program and you qualify for the PGWP, congratulations, it’s time to learn how you can apply for the PGWP.

Gather your documents

Before starting the application process, gather all the necessary documents, including:

  • Your valid passport
  • Active study permit
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • Your official transcripts and graduation certificate
  • Proof of program completion
  • Proof of legal status in Canada

Make sure that all documents are clear, legible, and up-to-date.

Complete the application package

You can apply for a PGWP online through the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

On the website, you need to create a profile if you don’t have one already, download and complete the PGWP application form (IMM 5710), ensure you fill out the form correctly, and upload all the required documents.

Pay the application fee

Before submitting your application form, you need to pay the required application fee online using a credit card or a Canadian bank account, the fee is CAD 255 but it can change over time so whatever it is at the time you are applying, kindly pay. Once you pay for the application, you can submit your application.

Wait for a decision

After submitting your application, you’ll receive a confirmation receipt from the IRCC. Your PGWP application can take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to process so be patient. You can check the status of your application through the IRCC website if you feel nervous.

Receive your PGWP

Once your PGWP is approved, you will receive a letter of introduction. This letter will contain important details about your work permit, including its duration and conditions. Make sure to follow these conditions during your stay in Canada.

Kind note: Do not go against the conditions of your work permit, the implications can be severe.

Important tips

  • Maintain legal status: Make sure that you maintain your legal status in Canada throughout the application process and until you receive your PGWP.
  • Traveling during processing: You shouldn’t travel while processing your PGWP but if you need to leave Canada while your PGWP application is in process, make sure you have a valid temporary resident visa (TRV) or an electronic travel authorization (eTA) to re-enter Canada.
  • Permanent residency: While on a PGWP, consider exploring pathways to permanent residency in Canada, such as Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

Getting your PR in Canada comes with numerous social benefits, you should give it a trial.


If you want to stay back in Canada after graduation to gain work experience or you desire to become a permanent resident of Canada and you are currently studying in Canada, the PGWP is a great option for you.

First, you need to choose a program that meets the work permit requirements (your program must be at least 8 months in duration), and when you graduate, follow the application steps diligently, and adhere to all conditions, you will eventually get the PGWP and subsequently become a permanent resident of Canada.

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