7 Essential Steps to Obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada

By | August 13, 2023

Obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada is a crucial step for international students who wish to stay and work in the country after completing their studies. This permit allows graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which can be instrumental in their long-term career goals. In this article, we will guide you through the 7 essential steps to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada, ensuring that you have all the necessary information to successfully navigate the application process.

What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit is an immigration document issued by the Canadian government that allows international students who have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada to work in the country for a certain period of time. This permit is a valuable opportunity for graduates to gain practical work experience related to their field of study and contribute to the Canadian workforce.

Are you eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

To be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you must have completed a program of study at a designated learning institution in Canada. The program should have been full-time and at least 8 months in duration. Additionally, you must have received a degree, diploma, or certificate from an eligible institution. It is important to note that not all programs and institutions qualify for the PGWP, so it is crucial to ensure that your chosen program and institution meet the eligibility criteria.

Which documents are required?

When applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you will need to gather several documents to support your application. These include your official transcript, a copy of your study permit, and a letter of completion or graduation from your designated learning institution. You will also need to provide a copy of your passport, proof of payment of the permit fee, and any other documents requested by the immigration authorities. It is important to carefully review the document checklist provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to ensure that you have all the required documents.

How to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

To apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can submit your application online or by mail. The online application is generally faster and more convenient. You will need to create an account on the IRCC website and fill out the necessary forms. Make sure to double-check all the information provided and attach the required documents. Pay the application fee and submit your application. If you choose to apply by mail, ensure that you send your application to the correct processing center as specified by IRCC.

What is the processing time?

The processing time for a Post-Graduation Work Permit can vary depending on several factors, including the volume of applications and the completeness of your application. As of the time of writing, the average processing time is approximately 4 to 5 months. However, it is important to note that this is an estimate and processing times can change. It is always a good idea to check the official IRCC website for the most up-to-date information on processing times.

Can you work while waiting for the permit?

Yes, you are allowed to work while waiting for your Post-Graduation Work Permit to be approved. To be eligible for this, you must have completed your program of study and have a valid study permit that allows you to work off-campus. It is important to note that you can only work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions and full-time during scheduled breaks. Once your Post-Graduation Work Permit is approved, you will have the opportunity to work full-time in Canada.

How long is the permit valid?

The validity of a Post-Graduation Work Permit depends on the length of your program of study. If your program was less than 8 months but more than 6 months, you will be eligible for a work permit that is valid for the same duration as your program. If your program was between 8 months and 2 years, your work permit can be issued for up to the same duration as your program. For programs that are 2 years or longer, the work permit can be valid for up to 3 years.

What are the conditions of the permit?

As a holder of a Post-Graduation Work Permit, there are certain conditions that you must adhere to. Firstly, you must work for a Canadian employer and the job must be considered skilled work. Additionally, you must maintain valid immigration status and comply with all Canadian laws. It is important to note that there may be certain restrictions on the types of employment you can engage in, such as not being able to work in certain industries or occupations.

Can you extend your work permit?

In some cases, it is possible to extend your Post-Graduation Work Permit. If you wish to continue working in Canada after your initial permit expires, you will need to apply for an extension. The eligibility criteria for an extension may vary, so it is important to review the requirements on the official IRCC website. It is advisable to start the extension process well in advance of the expiration of your current permit to ensure a seamless transition.

What are the next steps?

Once you have obtained your Post-Graduation Work Permit, you can start working in Canada. It is important to make the most of this opportunity by gaining valuable work experience, expanding your professional network, and exploring potential pathways to permanent residency. Consider joining professional associations, attending networking events, and staying up-to-date with the latest developments in your field. It is also crucial to be proactive in researching and understanding the requirements for transitioning to permanent residency if that is your long-term goal.


Obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada is a significant milestone for international students seeking to start their careers in the country. By following the 7 essential steps outlined in this article, you can navigate the application process with confidence and ensure that you have all the necessary documents and information. Remember to carefully review the eligibility criteria, gather all the required documents, and submit your application in a timely manner. With a Post-Graduation Work Permit in hand, you can embark on an exciting journey of professional growth and contribute to the vibrant Canadian workforce.