Post-Graduation Work Permit

A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that gives eligible graduates permission to remain in Canada as a worker. Because a PGWP is an open work permit, PGWP-holders may work for any employer and are allowed to change employers. Obtaining a PGWP allows eligible graduates to gain Canadian work experiences, which can help them prepare to apply for permanent residence.

NAIT’s certificate, diploma, and degree programs that are at least 8 months long may qualify eligible graduates for a PGWP; you can confirm this information by checking NAIT’s DLI number (O18713200642).

A PGWP can only be issued once in a lifetime.  You cannot receive another PGWP if you previously had one for a different course of study.

Am I eligible for a PGWP?

To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have:

  • Completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months and led to a certificate, diploma or degree.
  • Studied full-time in your first semester and each following Fall and Winter semester (excludes scheduled breaks), with two exceptions:
    • You studied part-time in your final academic session only.
    • You took a NAIT-approved Authorized Leave of Absence for less than 150 days.
  • Enrolled in in-person classes (when offered).
  • Applied within 90 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available AND have a valid study permit at the time of application, OR
  • Applied within 180 days after your Letter of Completion first becomes available, AND have previously held a valid study permit, and one of the following:
    • Applied for visitor status before your study permit became invalid
    • Applied to restore your temporary resident status
    • Applied from outside of Canada

When should I apply for a PGWP?

You can apply for a PGWP as soon as you receive written confirmation of graduation. At NAIT, confirmation of graduation is called a PGWP letter, also known as a Completion of Studies letter.  This e-letter will be uploaded to your NAIT Portal according to the following timelines:

If you finish your program in:

  • April – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-May.
  • August – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-September.
  • December – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-January.

Once you receive your PGWP letter, if you are in Canada, you have 90 days to apply for your PGWP (or until your study permit expires, whichever date is first).  If you are outside of Canada when you apply for a PGWP, you have 180 days to submit the application.

NOTE:  the date of your graduation ceremony does not affect the PGWP application period. You do not need to wait for a job offer to apply for a PGWP.

How do I apply for a PGWP?

You can apply online for a PGWP from within Canada if your study permit is still valid.

  • If your study permit will expire before you complete your program, you must apply to extend it.
  • If you have completed your program and your study permit will no longer be valid when you apply for PGWP, and you wish to remain in Canada, you must apply for a visitor record before your study permit expires.

Your PGWP application will require the following NAIT documents:

  1. Final transcript (unofficial or official): The transcript can be obtained from your MyNAIT portal.
  2. PGWP Completion Letter: can be found in your MyNAIT portal under e-letters.  View an example of a completion letter.  If you finish your program in:
    • April – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-May.
    • August – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-September.
    • December – you will receive a PGWP letter in mid-January.

To help you apply for your PGWP, check out the following resources:

If, after reading the guide and watching the video, you still have questions about applying for a PWGP, you can book an appointment with an International Academic Advisor.

How long will my PGWP be?

The length of the PGWP for which you may be eligible depends on the length of the program that you complete.

Length of Program Length of PGWP
Less than 8 months Not available
1 year Up to 1 year
2 years or more Up to 3 years

Please note that the validity period of the PGWP will not go beyond your passport’s validity date.

My passport will expire before my 3-year PGWP term is up. Can I extend my PGWP?

A PGWP will not be issued past the expiry date of your passport.  If the length of your PGWP is shorter than it should be because of an early passport expiry date, IRCC will put a note on your PGWP, stating that you can extend it to get the full validity.  If this happens, you must apply on paper to extend your PGWP.

My study permit will expire at the end of my last semester. Do I need to extend it to apply for a PGWP?

You MUST have a valid temporary status as a student or a visitor to apply for a PGWP from within Canada. 

  • If your study permit will expire before you will receive a PGWP letter, you must apply to extend it.
  • If your study permit will expire after you receive a PGWP letter but before you will be able to apply for a PGWP, you must apply for a visitor record to remain in Canada.

What if I took some distance/online courses during my studies?

If you are in Canada and your program offers face-to-face classes, IRCC recommends that you study in-person to protect your future PGWP eligibility.  As such, ensure you enrol as early as possible to secure your seat in in-person classes.

If your program only offers online classes, take and save a screenshot of the NAIT Portal as proof that the class was offered online only.

NOTE: beginning September 1, 2024, you must take at least 50% of your program in-class, not through distance/online learning, to be eligible for a PGWP.

What are my working permissions when applying for a PGWP?

Timeline Working Permissions
After you finish your final exams and before you receive your PGWP letter in the NAIT Portal Continue to work like normal using the authorization on your valid study permit
Receive the PGWP letter in the NAIT Portal Stop working immediately as you are no longer a student

Submit a PGWP application and meet the following requirements:

  • Had a valid study permit when you submitted the PGWP application
  • Completed your study program
  • Were eligible to work off-campus without a work permit while studying
  • Did not work more hours than you were allowed when studying

NOTE: if you do not meet the above requirements, you must wait until your PGWP arrives to begin working.

Start working full-time while you wait for an answer on your PGWP application.

If your employer wants proof that you can work full-time, you can show them the documents outlined in this IRCC list.

NOTE: after submitting a PGWP application, you may receive a ‘WP-EXT for PGWP (IMM 0127 E) letter’ from IRCC. If you have not received an answer on your PGWP application by the date indicated in this letter, you can continue working until a decision is made on your PGWP application, even past the letter’s 120-day validity period.

Your PGWP application is approved Work full-time until the PGWP expiry date
If your PGWP application is refused Stop working immediately

 

Will employment with my PGWP allow me to apply for Permanent Residence?

The PGWP program allows most international students who have graduated from an eligible program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

There are a number of immigration programs available for international students to apply for permanent residence (PR). You can review different PR options here.

NAIT International Academic Advisors do not advise on PR.  However, you can attend an information session to learn about PR options. Please monitor here for those offerings.

 

The immigration information on this page has been reviewed and endorsed by Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) in compliance with the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. However, this is not a legal document and information may change without notice.


Looking for more information?

We're happy to help answer your questions.   Feel free to submit any Immigration questions through NAIT.ca/help. We also recommend you check out the Government of Canada's Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship page for all up to date information.

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