Work in Canada after you graduate: Who can apply

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Eligibility criteria

Inside Canada graduates

You can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from inside Canada as long as you’re eligible.

You have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after you get your

  • degree or diploma
  • transcript or
  • 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

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.

You can apply for a PGWP if

  • your study permit has been valid within the last 180 days
  • you have a valid visitor record
  • you submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expired and no decision has been made on your application
  • you submitted an application to change your status to visitor before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application

You must also have

  • completed a study program
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program
    • This doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.
    • If you had to stop studying or change to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 because of reasons related to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for a PGWP.
  • graduated from one of the following:
    • a public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec)
    • a private post-secondary school in Quebec that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec
    • a private secondary or post-secondary school in Quebec that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer that lead to a Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP—vocational studies diploma), or an Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP—vocational studies accreditation)
      • An ASP can be less than 900 hours if combined with a DEP.
    • a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree), but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province.

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
  • had received funding from Global Affairs Canada
    • 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

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. You don’t have to have held a valid study permit at any point during your online studies from outside Canada.

You have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after you get your

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

You can apply for a PGWP if you

  • were enrolled in a program that was in progress in March 2020 or
  • started or will start a program between spring 2020 and fall 2021 and
    • you have a study permit or
    • 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.

and you

  • completed a study program
  • maintained full-time status as a student during each semester of your study program
    • This doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.
    • If you had to stop studying or change to part-time studies between March 2020 and the fall semester in 2020 because of reasons related to COVID-19, you may still be eligible for a PGWP.
  • graduated from one of the following:
    • a public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec)
    • a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec
    • a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, that leads to a Diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP—vocational studies diploma) or an Attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP—vocational Studies Accreditation);
      • An ASP can be less than 900 hours if combined with a DEP.
    • a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD degree), but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province

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

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 letter of introduction that shows you’ve 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 Global Affairs Canada
  • had funding from Global Affairs Canada
    • 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

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

Outside Canada distance learning

You can complete 100% of your studies online from outside Canada.

All of the time you spend studying online from outside Canada between spring 2020 and December 31, 2021 counts toward the length of a PGWP. This applies even if you’re completing 2 study programs.

If you’re completing 2 study programs, you can finish 100% of your studies online if the programs were ongoing or started between March 2020 and fall 2021 and

The following time won’t count toward the length of a PGWP:

  • time spent studying outside Canada after December 31, 2021
  • time spent studying before you applied for a study permit

Inside Canada distance learning

If distance learning makes up less than 50% of your study program, you may be eligible for a PGWP. The length of the PGWP would match the length of your program, including both in-class and distance courses. Any distance courses completed outside Canada won’t be included in the length of the PGWP.

If distance learning makes up more than 50% of your study program, you aren’t eligible for a PGWP.

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. If your leave is authorized, you may still be eligible 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 all the eligibility requirements listed above, and one of the following:

  • have completed a flight training course at a DLI training centre and now have a Canadian commercial pilot’s licence or
  • have or be 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 occupational training programs must meet the conditions listed below.

Institution

You must have graduated from a recognized

  • public secondary school
  • private secondary school or
  • private post-secondary school

Learn about recognized schools in Quebec.

Degrees, diplomas and certificates

To be eligible, degrees, diplomas and certificates must be issued by the Gouvernement du Québec.

These include:

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

Program length

The program you attended and completed must have been full-time and for at least 8 months if you completed a DEC or an AEC.

If you completed a DEP or an ASP, the program must be at least 900 hours.

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
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