Work in Canada after you graduate: Who can apply

Eligibility

You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

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

You must also have:

  • completed a study program:
    • at a designated learning institution
    • that was at least 8 months long and
    • that led to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program (except your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took a leave from studies)
  • graduated from a:
    • public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university, or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec, or
    • 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) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP), or
    • Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree) but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province

You aren’t eligible for a PGWP if you:

  • already received a post-graduation work permit
  • 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)
  • had funding from GAC
  • 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 majority of a study program by distance learning (online courses, e-learning or correspondence)
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada

Special cases

If you’re in any of these groups, you may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

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 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

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.

Leave from studies

You may not be eligible for a PGWP if:

  • you take an unauthorized leave from your study program, and
  • we find 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 to be eligible.

If you transferred from a school that is not a DLI to one that is, only the time studying at the DLI will be counted. The length of the time spent at the DLI must be at least 8 months to be eligible.

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 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 license 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 professional training programs must meet these conditions:

Institution

You must have graduated from a recognized:

  • public secondary school
  • private secondary school or a
  • 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 Quebec government. 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 eight months if you completed diplôme d’études collégiales (DEC) or attestation d’études collégiales (AEC). If you completed a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP) it must be at least 900 hours.

Supporting documents

You must include these documents with your PGWP application:

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