How to work in Canada after graduation 2022: PGWP
After you graduate from your program of studies, you may be able to work temporarily or even live permanently in Canada.
Table of Contents
1. Work in Canada temporarily after you graduate
You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work. A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows you to remain in Canada and work full time after you complete a certificate, diploma or degree that is at least 8 months in length.
You don’t need a job offer to apply and can work anywhere in Canada in any occupation, even if it’s unrelated to your studies. The only exceptions are jobs at risk of exploitation or jobs which require a medical exam, such as working in school or health care settings.
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.
2. How do graduates in Canada know if they can apply for PGWP?
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 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. This doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies.
- You are 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.
3. Some graduates’ special cases may be eligible for a PGWP.
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.
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.
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.
Transfers between schools
Quebec graduates of vocational and occupational training programs must meet the conditions listed below.
You must have graduated from a recognized
- public secondary school
- private secondary school or
- private post-secondary school
- Some schools that eligible for PGWP in Quebec
Degrees, diplomas and certificates
To be eligible, degrees, diplomas and certificates must be issued by the Gouvernement du Québec.
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.
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
4. What is the length of PGWP?
The length of the work permit ranges from a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years based on the official length of your program, not the amount of time spent completing program requirements. If you complete a 4-year undergraduate degree, you are eligible for a 3-year PGWP.
If you are a graduate student, request a customized Letter of Completion which indicates the length of your program. If your graduate program has a flexible time frame, such as 12-24 months, request that your letter indicates the number of credits and/or speaks to the intensive nature of your program, draft a letter of explanation, and contact International Student Advising for support.
5. When should a graduate apply for PGWP?
You can only apply after your Letter of Completion is available, which confirms that you have completed all program requirements. The date your Letter of Completion first becomes available is different from your degree conferral, diploma, and graduation ceremony.
6. What happens after graduates applied PGWP?
After submitting your PGWP application online, you may immediately begin working full-time while your application is being processed if at the time you submit your application:
- You have a valid study permit and apply within the first 90 days after your Letter of Completion first became available, and
- You have completed your program of study, and
- You were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit during your studies, and
- You did not work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week during academic sessions.
If you apply while you are on implied status for your study permit extension, you will not be able to work in Canada until you receive a valid PGWP. Alternatively, you could wait for your study permit to be processed before applying for the PGWP then you would be able to work after submitting your application if you meet the above criteria, as long as you still apply within 90 days after program completion.
To avoid a gap in work eligibility between receiving your Letter of Completion and applying for the PGWP, prepare your PGWP application in advance so that you can apply as soon as your letter becomes available. You can work continuously if you apply the same day your Letter of Completion first becomes available.
If you plan to work in a job that requires a medical exam, you cannot start working in that position until you’ve received your work permit with correct conditions, however, if you meet the above criteria you can work in other jobs which don’t require a medical exam while you are waiting for your work permit.
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