Canada wants international students and graduates to plan for a long-term career in the country. To facilitate this goal, the post-graduation work permit program allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
With this experience, graduates not only earn professionally — they can also benefit from permanent residence immigration programs that reward Canadian work experience, such as the Canadian Experience Class.
A post-graduation work permit may be valid for up to three years, depending on the duration of the study program in Canada completed by the applicant. Moreover, the post-graduation work permit is an open work permit, allowing its bearer to work in any location in Canada, not restricted to any employer. Neither the applicant nor an employer needs to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) before the worker may begin working in Canada.
The post-graduation work permit is sometimes referred to as a post-graduate work permit.
Post-graduation work permit eligibility
To obtain a post-graduation work permit, applicants must:
- have a valid study permit when applying for the work permit;
- have continuously studied full time in Canada (i.e., studies must have taken place at a Canadian educational institution) and have completed a program of study that is at least 8 months in duration; and
- have completed and passed the program of study and received a written notification from the educational institution indicating that they are eligible to obtain a degree, diploma, or certificate.
The educational institution must be one of the following:
- a public post-secondary institution, such as a college, trade or technical school, university, or CEGEP;*
- a private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions;
- a private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) or an attestation of vocational specialization (AVS); or
- a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees (i.e., bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate), but only if the student is enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree, as authorized by the province, and not in just any program of study offered by the private institution.
*CEGEP courses are only offered in the province of Quebec.
Post-graduation work permit applicants must apply within 90 days of receiving written confirmation (e.g. an official letter or transcript) from the educational institution indicating that they have met the requirements for completing their study program. Calculation of the 90 days begins the day the student’s final marks are issued or the day formal written notification of program completion is received, whichever comes first.
Applications can be submitted either online or on paper.