Work in Canada after Graduation


The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program was developed for international students graduating from a designated learning institute (DLI) in Canada. It is an open work permit, which results in authorization to work for almost any employer in Canada. One of the eligibility requirements is, completion of an educational program with a duration of least 8 months a in a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program.

A PGWP is not automatically issued. The graduate must receive their DLI transcripts or confirmation letter to apply. Important to note, immigration will not issue a PGWP or any status beyond the expiry date of a passport. Therefore, the validity of the passport should be at least three years following graduation.

Valid study permit

With a valid study permit, the graduate may apply for a PGWP and work while immigration processes their work permit application.  

If the application is refused the foreign national must quit working and leave Canada. Some reasons why the work permit may be refused:

  • one or more of the eligibility requirements were not met
  • inadmissible to remain in Canada due to criminality while in or outside of Canada

Advantages of applying for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) in Canada with a valid study permit:

  • Post-graduation work permits are exempt from Labour Market Impact Assessments.
  • Begin working in Canada after graduation while the PGWP application is being processed.
  • May work for almost any employer. It will mention the conditions on the permit.
  • The spouse of a PGWP holder may be eligible for an open work permit.
  • Canadian employers likely to hire PGWP holders to relieve their labour shortage.
  • Gain Canadian working experience soon after graduation.
  • Possibility of obtaining arranged employment sooner and gain more points on the express entry system or Quebec selection grid.

Expired study permit

Valid status is required to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from within Canada. What happens if the study permit expired before completion of their program of studies? Discontinue studying and working. Apply to restore the study permit within Canada up to 90 days from the expiry date and pay the restoration fee and study permit fee. Otherwise, the foreign national must leave Canada and apply from abroad. As a result, it is recommended to keep track of the expiry date and apply for a new study permit three months prior to its expiry.

An applicant has up to 180 days from the date their transcripts or written confirmation letter was issued, to apply for a PGWP. Whichever comes first. If they wish to remain in Canada while waiting for the work permit, they need to change their status to visitor in the meantime. They are not eligible to work until the PGWP is issued.

Disadvantages of an expired study permit

  • The graduate may not work without a valid work permit.
  • May need to apply to restore status as a student before applying for the PGWP. They have up to 90 days to restore the status after the expiry of the student permit.
  • Not eligible to work until a PGWP is approved.
  • Leave Canada and apply for the PGWP from abroad. Or
  • Submit an application to extend the stay as a visitor, if they wish to remain in Canada.
  • Delays in gaining Canadian experience and permanent residence.
  • Additional expenses incurred.

Important to note

If the studies are completed earlier than the expiry of the study permit, the study permit will no longer be valid 90 days after they’ve been completed. Even if the date on the study permit is beyond the 90 days.

Want more Information on Post-Graduation Work Permits?

Please be advised, information provided in my blog posts are general and not meant to solve personal immigration issues or answer case specific questions. This is done through one-on-one consultation. Acts and regulations change regularly without notice. Be sure to enquire before applying.

You may visit the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website for more information or

Contact us

Normandeau Immigration Consultation to schedule a consultation session and speak to someone.