Work in Canada after you graduate: Who can apply

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Eligibility criteria

Inside Canada graduates

You can apply for a PGWP from inside Canada as long as you’re eligible.

You have up to 180 days after you graduate to apply for a PGWP. When you apply, you must confirm the following:

  • that you attended and completed your program
  • the name of your program
  • the length of your program

You can confirm these by submitting any of the following:

  • your degree or diploma
  • your transcript or
  • an official letter from your school

To be eligible, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.

Don’t let your status expire while you wait for your marks

If your study permit will expire before you get your marks, you have 2 options. You can either

If you stay in Canada and let your permit expire, you must apply to restore your status as a student to apply for your PGWP. To restore your status, you must pay additional fees.

General PGWP eligibility requirements

You can apply for a PGWP if you

  • completed a study program at a designated learning institution and meet certain program requirements
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program
    • There are some exceptions to this requirement, including
      • studying part-time during your final semester
      • taking an approved leave from your studies
      • having to stop studying or changing to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 for reasons related to COVID-19
  • have a study permit that has been valid within the last 180 days
  • submitted an application to extend your study permit in Canada before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application

Study program requirements

PGWP eligibility has changed for some Quebec schools

Eligibility criteria has changed for certain programs at some designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Quebec.

Before you enrol, make sure you check the Details page for your DLI in the list of DLIs by province or territory.

There are also specific requirements for the study program you’re enrolled in. You must be in one of the situations below to meet the eligibility requirements for a PGWP.

Type of institution Required length of program Program outcome

Public post-secondary DLI, such as

  • a college,
  • a trade/technical institution, or
  • a university
8 months or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • a degree (associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate)
  • a diploma or a certificate
Quebec public secondary DLI offering vocational training programs 900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • a diploma of vocational studies (DVS)
  • an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS)
Quebec collège d’enseignement général et professionnel (CÉGEP) 900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • an attestation of college studies (ACS)
  • a diploma of college studies (DCS)

Quebec provincially subsidized private post–secondary DLI

or

Quebec provincially subsidized private secondary DLI offering provincially subsidized vocational training programs

900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • an attestation of college studies (ACS)
  • a diploma of college studies (DCS)

You must be enrolled in one of the provincially subsidized study programs. This may not include all study programs offered at the DLI.

Canadian private designated learning institution authorized by the province to confer degrees n/a

Your DLI must be authorized by the province to confer degrees including

  • an associate degree
  • a bachelor’s degree
  • a master’s degree or
  • a doctorate

You must be enrolled in one of the study programs leading to a degree, as authorized by the province. This may not include all study programs offered by the private DLI.

Exceptions to the eligibility requirements

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you

  • have a study permit that expired more than 180 days before you applied
  • already received a PGWP
  • studied English or French as a second language
  • took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by Global Affairs Canada (GAC)
  • have received funding from GAC
    • Note: If you got a Study in Canada Scholarship, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.
  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile
  • participated in the Canada–China Scholars’ Exchanges Program
  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed the major part of a study program through distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada
  • completed a course or program of study at a DLI that is not PGWP-eligible
Curriculum licensing agreements (public-private partnerships)

These agreements allow students to graduate from a program that was delivered by a private career college on behalf of a public PGWP-eligible institution. These programs are not PGWP-eligible in most cases (check exceptions below).

  • Exception 1: Curriculum licensing agreements within the same province

    If you began a program of study at a private college being delivered on behalf of a public college in the same province before September 1, 2024, you may be eligible for a PGWP. You must also meet all other program eligibility criteria.

    If you begin one of these programs on or after September 1, 2024, you will not be eligible for a PGWP.

  • Exception 2: Curriculum licensing agreements between provinces

    If you began a program of study at a private college being delivered on behalf of a public college in another province on or before January 31, 2023, you may be eligible for a PGWP. You must also meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

    If you began one of these programs after February 1, 2023, you’re not eligible for a PGWP.

If you’re not eligible for a PGWP, you may still be able to work in Canada after you graduate. You can find out if you’re eligible for another type of permit.

Outside Canada graduates

You can apply for a PGWP from outside Canada as long as you’re eligible and you’ve been approved for a study permit.

Note: If you completed your studies online from outside Canada between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, you didn’t need a valid study permit during the time you were studying because of a temporary COVID-19 policy.

You have up to 180 days after you graduate to apply for a PGWP. When you apply, you must confirm the following:

  • that you attended and completed your program
  • the name of your program
  • the length of your program

You can confirm these by submitting any of the following:

  • your degree or diploma
  • your transcript or
  • an official letter from your school

General PGWP eligibility requirements

You can apply for a PGWP if you

  • completed a study program at a designated learning institution and meet certain program requirements
  • maintained full-time status as a student during each semester of your study program
    • There are some exceptions to this requirement, including
      • studying part-time during your final semester
      • taking an approved leave from your studies
      • having to stop studying or changing to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 for reasons related to COVID-19
  • were enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020 or
  • started a program between spring 2020 and summer 2022 and
    • you have a study permit
    • you’ve been approved for a study permit or
    • you applied for a study permit before starting your study program
      • Your study permit must eventually be approved.

Study program requirements

Changes to the post graduation work permit

Eligibility criteria has changed for certain programs at some designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Quebec.

Before you enrol, make sure you check the Details page for your DLI in the list of DLIs by province or territory.

There are also specific requirements for the study program you’re enrolled in. You must fit into one of the situations below to meet the eligibility requirements for a PGWP.

Only the time you spent studying outside Canada after we received your study permit application counts towards the length of your PGWP.

Type of institution Required length of program Program outcome

Public post-secondary designated learning institution, such as

  • a college
  • a trade/technical institution or
  • a university
8 months or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • an attestation of college studies (ACS)
  • a diploma of college studies (DCS)
  • a degree (associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate)
  • a diploma or a certificate
Quebec public secondary DLI offering vocational training programs 900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • a diploma of vocational studies (DVS)
  • an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS)
Quebec collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEP) 900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • an attestation of college studies (ACS)
  • a diploma of college studies (DCS)

Quebec provincially-subsidized private post-secondary DLI

or

Quebec provincially subsidized private secondary DLI offering provincially subsidized vocational training programs

900 hours or longer

Your program must lead to one of the following:

  • an attestation of college studies (ACS)
  • a diploma of college studies (DCS)

You must be enrolled in one of the provincially subsidized study programs. This may not include all study programs offered at the DLI.

Canadian private designated learning institution authorized by province to confer degrees n/a

Your DLI must be authorized by the province to confer degrees including

  • an associate degree
  • a bachelor’s degree
  • a master’s degree or
  • a doctorate

You must be enrolled in one of the study programs leading to a degree, as authorized by the province. This may not include all study programs offered by the private DLI.

Exceptions to the eligibility requirements

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you

  • only received first stage approval, but don’t have a final decision on your application
    • You must have a port of entry letter of introduction that shows you have been approved for a study permit.
  • already received a PGWP
  • studied English or French as a second language
  • took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • participated in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC
  • had funding from GAC
    • Note: If you got a Study in Canada Scholarship, you’re still eligible for a PGWP.
  • got the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • participated in the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchanges Program
  • participated in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed the major part of a study program through distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada
  • completed a course or program of study at a DLI that is not PGWP-eligible
Curriculum licensing agreements (public-private partnerships)

These agreements allow students to graduate from a program that was delivered by a private career college on behalf of a public PGWP-eligible institution. These programs are not PGWP-eligible unless a student meets the criteria for one of the exceptions below.

  • Exception 1: Curriculum licensing agreements within the same province

    If you began a program of study at a private college being delivered on behalf of a public college in the same province before September 1, 2024, you may be eligible for a PGWP. You must also meet all other program eligibility criteria.

    If you begin one of these programs on or after September 1, 2024, you will not be eligible for a PGWP.

  • Exception 2: Curriculum licensing agreements between provinces

    If you began a program of study at a private college being delivered on behalf of a public college in another province on or before January 31, 2023, you may be eligible for a PGWP. You must also meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

    If you began one of these programs after February 1, 2023, you’re not eligible for a PGWP.

If you’re not eligible for a PGWP, you may still be able to work in Canada after you graduate. You can find out if you’re eligible for another type of permit.

If your passport expires before your PGWP

Make sure your passport is valid for the entire length of time your PGWP would be.

If your passport expires before your PGWP, we’ll

  • issue you a PGWP that’s only valid until your passport expires
  • tell you if you need to extend it to get the full validity of your PGWP

You can only extend a PGWP if we tell you that you can. If this happens, you have to apply on paper to extend your PGWP for it to be extended to its full length.

Special cases

If you’re in any of these groups, you may be eligible for a PGWP.

Accelerated programs

If you complete your study program in less time than the normal length of the program, you may be eligible for a PGWP that is valid for the full length of your program.

For example, if you complete a 1 year study program in 8 months, you may be able to get a PGWP valid for 1 year.

Distance learning

Distance learning from outside of Canada

You can complete up to 100% of your studies online from outside Canada between March 2020 and August 31, 2022, because of a temporary COVID-19 policy. This temporary policy was in place until August 31, 2022.

You’re eligible for this temporary policy if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You’re enrolled in a PGWP-eligible program.
  • You were outside Canada and did not travel to Canada because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but were still able to take online courses.
  • You began a program of study between from March 2020 and August 31, 2022, or your program was already in progress in March 2020.
  • You have a study permit or approval for a study permit, or you have applied for a study permit for which you are eventually approved prior to starting your program.
    • You can count the time you spent studying after you submitted your initial study permit application, even if it’s refused, as long as you submit another application that is eventually approved before you finish your study program.
  • You meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria.

This temporary policy changed as of September 1, 2022.

To find out if these changes apply to you and how, check the date

  • that you started your program of study
  • on the study permit application receipt that we sent you

Whichever date comes first is the lock-in date that applies to you. Next, check the rules for distance learning for your lock-in date.

Lock-in date between September 1, 2022, and August 31, 2024 New
  • You must complete at least 50% of your program inside Canada (online or in class).
  • The time spent studying online from outside of Canada before August 31, 2024, will count toward the length of your PGWP as long as it constitutes less than 50% of your program of study.
Lock-in date on or after September 1, 2024 New
  • You must complete at least 50% of your program in class inside Canada.
  • The time spent studying outside of Canada will be deducted from the length of your PGWP.
What doesn’t count toward the length of your PGWP

You can’t count the following time toward the length of a PGWP:

  • time spent studying online from outside Canada after August 31, 2024 New
  • time spent studying before you applied for a study permit

Distance learning from inside Canada

If your courses were moved online due to the pandemic, the time you spend studying online from within Canada until August 31, 2024 New, still counts toward the length of your PGWP. However, it’s highly recommended that you attend in-class options when offered.

The temporary policy change for in-Canada students studying online ends on August 31, 2024 New.

Taking leave from your studies

You may not be eligible for a PGWP if

  • you take an unauthorized leave from your study program and
  • we find that you didn’t meet the conditions of your study permit by taking this leave

There are a few cases where you may be able to take an authorized leave of up to 150 days from your study program and still meet the conditions of your study permit. You need to provide proof that your DLI authorized the leave when you apply for a PGWP.

Find out what counts as an authorized leave from your studies.

Transfers between schools

If you transferred between designated learning institutions (DLIs)

The combined length of your studies must be at least 8 months for you to be eligible.

If you transferred from a non-DLI to a DLI

Only the time you spent studying at the DLI will be counted. You must spend at least 8 months at the DLI to be eligible for a PGWP.

Canadian study programs with an overseas component

If your study program has an overseas component, you may be eligible for a PGWP as long as you earn a credit from a Canadian school for it. The PGWP will only be valid for the length of the time you studied in Canada.

Flight school graduates

To be eligible for a PGWP, a flight school graduate must meet the general and program specific requirements listed above, and one of the following:

  • You completed a flight training course at a DLI training centre and now have a Canadian commercial pilot’s license or
  • You have or are in the process of getting an instructor’s rating and a job offer as a flight instructor from a DLI flight training centre

Graduates of certain Quebec schools

Quebec graduates of vocational and technical training programs must meet the conditions listed below.

Institution

  • You must have graduated from a PGWP-eligible DLI, including a public secondary school offering programs of a minimum length of 900 hours leading to a DVS or AVS.
  • You must have graduated from a provincially subsidized private secondary school offering provincially-subsidized programs of a minimum length of 900 hours leading to a DVS or AVS, or
  • You must have graduated from a provincially subsidized private post-secondary school offering provincially subsidized programs of a minimum length of 900 hours leading to an attestation of college studies (ACS) or a diploma of college studies (DCS)

Degrees, diplomas and attestations

To be eligible, degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate), diplomas, and attestations must be issued by the Gouvernement du Québec.

These include:

  • from public or private secondary schools
    • diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP—DVS diploma in vocational studies in English)
    • attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP—AVS attestation of vocational specialization in English)
  • from private post-secondary schools
    • diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC—DCS diploma in college studies in English)
    • attestation d’études collégiales (AEC—ACS attestation of college studies in English)

Program type

You must be studying in a PGWP-eligible program. Not all programs are PGWP-eligible.

Make sure you check the details page for the DLI where you plan to study to make sure you’re studying in an PGWP-eligible program.

Supporting documents

When you apply for a PGWP, you must include

  • an official letter from the school that confirms the length of the study program (in hours or months) and the program code, and either
    • the certificate or official document that confirms that you completed your program or
    • an official transcript from a Quebec school board or recognized private school

Graduates of master’s degree programs

You can apply for a 3-year PGWP, even if the length of your master’s degree was less than 2 years, as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria (e.g., the program must have been a minimum of 8 months).

This does not apply to certificate or diploma programs.

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