Temporary policy changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP)
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
Eligible international students
Given the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on international students and the post-secondary sector, temporary policy changes were made to the eligibility requirements for post-graduation work permits (PGWPs) for the following groups of students:
- students enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs in progress in March 2020
- students who began PGWP-eligible programs between March 2020 and August 31, 2022
These temporary policy changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) are meant to facilitate the issuance of open work permits to former or current PGWP holders To be eligible for these temporary policy changes (called “full facilitation measures”) to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP), these students must meet one of the following requirements:
- have a study permit
- have been approved for a study permit
- have submitted a study permit application before beginning their program that was eventually approved
Note: If a student spent time studying at a designated learning institution (DLI) while outside of Canada, that time begins to count toward the length of the PGWP only after the department receives the study permit application. As such, time that the student spent studying before IRCC received the study permit application should be deducted from the length of the PGWP. Note that a PGWP is issued for a minimum of 8 months. Therefore, if a student completes only 7 months of studies after their study permit application is received, they are not eligible for a PGWP. Students are encouraged to apply for their study permits before starting their studies.
These temporary policy changes (full facilitation measures) do not apply to students who enrolled in programs after August 31, 2022.
New temporary policy changes (called “reduced facilitation measures”) will be in effect between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023, for students who began or will begin PGWP-eligible programs between those dates.
To find out more about the new temporary policy changes (reduced facilitation measures), consult the Distance learning section.
On this page
- Application deadline
- Distance learning
- Program stacking
- Part-time status
- Documents to submit
- Work authorization after submitting a PGWP application
- Temporary public policy to facilitate the issuance of open work permits to former or current PGWP holders
Graduates in Canada
Students graduating in Canada or applying at the port of entry are still required to apply for the PGWP within 180 days of holding a valid study permit and within 180 days of receiving written notification from their designated learning institution (DLI) that they completed their program.
Graduates outside of Canada
Students who graduate while outside of Canada and meet the eligibility requirements of the temporary PGWP policy changes described above do not need to hold or to have held a valid study permit within 180 days of applying for the PGWP. In order to be eligible to apply, these graduates must
- either have a study permit or have received approval for a study permit
- still apply within 180 days of receiving written notification from their DLI that they completed their program
Distance learning while outside Canada
Under normal circumstances, all distance learning courses that a student completes outside Canada are excluded from the time that counts toward the length of the PGWP, and 50% of a student’s courses must be completed in Canada and in person.
The following temporary policy changes have been made to accommodate eligible international students who have completed distance learning outside Canada.
1. Full facilitation measures
All students who were enrolled in PGWP-eligible programs in March 2020, or who started a program of study between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, are not required to complete 50% of their program (or programs) of study in Canada. Up to 100% of their program can be completed online from outside Canada.
- For the above group of students, up until August 31, 2023, time spent studying outside of Canada can be counted toward the overall length of the PGWP.
2. Reduced facilitation measures
All students who started or will start a program of study between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023, are required to complete at least 50% of their program (or programs) of study in Canada.
- For the above group of students, up until August 31, 2023, time spent studying outside of Canada will be counted toward the overall length of the PGWP only if it constitutes less than 50% of the program.
PGWP eligibility assessment: Outside of Canada
Officers should use the guidelines below to assess an applicant's PGWP eligibility when the applicant has done distance learning outside of Canada at an eligible DLI.
Full facilitation measures
- For students who were enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program in March 2020, or who started a program of study between March 2020 and August 31, 2022
- up to 100% of credits earned toward a program of study completed through a PGWP-eligible DLI in Canada can be earned from outside Canada until August 31, 2023, without the student losing their eligibility for a PGWP
Reduced facilitation measures
- For students who started or will be starting a program of study between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023
- at least 50% of credits earned toward a program of study completed through a PGWP-eligible DLI in Canada must be earned in Canada for the international student to remain eligible for a PGWP
- studies completed online from outside Canada through PGWP-eligible DLIs will not be deducted from the length of a future PGWP as long as they constitute less than 50% of the program of study
Any time a student spent studying outside of Canada after August 31, 2023, will be deducted from the length of the PGWP, regardless of when the student started or will start their program of study.
Note: The minimum length for a PGWP is 8 months.
All other program criteria and requirements must be met.
Note: In some cases a study permit application is submitted but then refused before a program starts. In those cases, if a subsequent study permit application is received before the end of the program and is eventually approved, then the studies undertaken after IRCC received the first study permit application count toward the length of the PGWP.
Distance learning while in Canada
If a student’s courses were moved online due to the pandemic, the time they spend studying online in Canada until August 31, 2023, still counts toward the length of the PGWP. However, students are highly recommended to attend in-class options when offered.
The temporary policy change for in-Canada students studying online ends on August 31, 2023.
Until August 31, 2023, eligible students who graduate from 2 eligible programs of study, when both programs were either in progress in March 2020 or were started between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, may be able to
- complete 100% of both programs from outside of Canada (if both programs were either in progress in March 2020, or began between March 2020 and August 31, 2022) and
- combine the length of their programs of study when they apply for a PGWP in the future
According to current instructions on determining the length of the PGWP, both programs need to be
- a minimum of 8 months in duration and
- completed at an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) within 2 years
Students who started their second program on or after September 1, 2022, need to complete at least 50% of their second program in Canada. They are not eligible for the above facilitation measure even if their first program was in progress in March 2020 or began between March 2020 and August 31, 2022.
Note: For students taking vocational programs in Quebec, the diploma of vocational studies (DVS) program must be at least 900 hours in length to be eligible for the facilitation measure , but an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) program can be less than 900 hours in length when submitted in combination with the DVS.
Students in Canada or outside of Canada may have been required to put their studies on hold or become part-time students due to course cancellations that were the result of public health measures at DLIs. For the winter, spring and summer semesters of 2020 only (that is, between January 1, 2020, and August 31, 2020), if a student’s status changed from full-time to part-time because of changes in course delivery at a DLI, their eligibility for a PGWP will not be impacted.
Applicants residing in Quebec
Foreign nationals who study in Quebec are not required to have a valid Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) when submitting a PGWP application. As the PGWP is an open work permit and is exempt from a labour market impact assessment (LMIA), a valid CAQ or study permit is not required when the PGWP is issued.
If foreign nationals are applying for a PGWP and their study permit has expired, they can apply to restore their status as a student without a CAQ and apply for the PGWP at the same time; the CAQ is not required for the PGWP.
Work authorization after submitting a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) application
According to paragraph 186(w) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, graduates who apply for a work permit, such as a PGWP, before the expiry of their study permit are eligible to work full-time without a work permit while they wait for a decision on their application; however, they are eligible only if all of the following apply:
- They hold a valid study permit at the time of the PGWP application.
- They have completed a PGWP-eligible program of study.
- They meet the requirements for working off campus without a work permit under paragraph R186(v).
- They did not exceed the allowable hours of work under paragraph R186(v).
Note: The student must have been enrolled full-time at a DLI in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program of at least 8 months in duration that led to a degree, diploma or certificate.
Temporary public policy to facilitate the issuance of an open work permit to former or current PGWP holders
Note: This temporary public policy came into force on June 13, 2022. In order for applicants to be considered under this policy, their PGWPs must have expired or be expiring between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022. All applications must be submitted by December 31, 2022.
IRCC recognizes the effects on the Canadian labour market and on PGWP holders when the department paused the invitations to apply for federal high-skilled streams under Express Entry (including federal skilled workers, federal skilled trades and Canadian experience class). Under this temporary public policy, we are introducing measures so that eligible PGWP holders can apply for a new open work permit that would be valid for up to 18 months. This public policy will be in effect until December 31, 2022.
These instructions provide guidance for issuing the additional open work permit while the public policy is in effect.
Public policy objectives
The public policy will allow eligible PGWP holders and former PGWP holders, including those who have valid temporary resident status, to apply from inside Canada for an open work permit. The permit will be valid for up to 18 months or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
Applicants outside of Canada must apply for a regular work permit and indicate that they are applying under this public policy.
To be eligible under this public policy and for the open work permit, the foreign national must submit clear evidence that they meet the criteria below.
A foreign national must
- hold or have held a PGWP that expired or is expiring between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022
- have maintained temporary resident status or be eligible for the restoration of their status (in Canada only)
- have requested consideration under this public policy and have indicated the duration of the work permit they are seeking in their application (maximum of 18 months)
Applications must be submitted online. Applicants can apply on paper only if they can’t apply online because of a disability or a problem with the online application.
The new open work permit will be valid for a maximum of 18 months. Applicants whose passport will expire in less than 18 months will be issued an open work permit that expires at the same time as their passport.
An open work permit under this public policy will be issued to an eligible applicant only once, and it cannot be extended.
This public policy waives the regulation stated in paragraph R200(3)(e), which prohibits the issuance of a work permit where there has been unauthorized work or study. This regulation is not waived if the applicant’s unauthorized work was for an employer described in section R196.1. Foreign nationals eligible under this public policy are subject to all other legislative obligations and admissibility and selection requirements that are not exempted under this or any other public policy.
If the applicant’s PGWP expired after September 20, 2021, they must apply for an open work permit by December 31, 2022, to restore their status.
Applicants who have submitted an application under this public policy may be issued an open work permit for a maximum length of 18 months.
The validity date of the open work permit will depend on the expiry date of the applicant’s PGWP, as follows:
- If the applicant’s PGWP is expired, the open work permit will be valid starting on the date it is approved.
- If the applicant’s PGWP is valid, the open work permit will be valid starting on the expiry date of the PGWP.
The duration of the open work permit will be 18 months or until the expiry of the applicant’s passport, whichever comes first, in both of the above situations.
Work permit application submission
All applicants must submit their PGWP application by following the instructions to apply online under this public policy.
When applicants apply, they must submit
- a copy of their passport
- a request for consideration under this public policy, including the duration of the work permit they are seeking (maximum of 18 months)
- corresponding fees
- $155 work permit fee
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