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Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program provides graduating students with the opportunity to pursue Canadian work experience upon completion of an eligible program at a Canadian designated learning institution.

Most international students who graduate from the University of Toronto are eligible to apply for a PGWP with a validity period of up to 3 years – the length of the PGWP given depends on the length of the student’s program of study. If you meet the eligibility requirements, and the length your program is considered by the University to be:

  • From 8 months to 2 years of study, you should expect one month of work for every month of the program.
    • Exception: 16-23 month intensive graduate programs (ie. that don’t include a summer/term break), you should expect a 3 year work permit.
  • Over 2 years, you should expect a 3 year work permit.

Please see the IRCC website for more information on determining length of a PGWP.


Am I eligible for a PGWP?

You may apply for this work permit only once. To be eligible, you must:

  • have completed the requirements of a degree, diploma, or certificate which was at least eight months long
  • have maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your program of study.
    • Exceptions:
      • if you were not a full-time student during the last semester of your studies, or
      • if you took an authorized leave of less than 150 days
  • apply within 180 days from the date your registrar’s office issues your final marks
  • provide proof of completion of your program (i.e. a completion of degree requirements letter from your registrar’s office and official transcript)
  • have not previously been issued a work permit through the Post-Graduation Work Permit program

You are not eligible to apply for a PGWP if you:

  • completed a program that is less than 8 months long
  • have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit
  • studied English or French as an additional language
  • took general interest or self-improvement courses
  • received funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), except if it was for the Study in Canada scholarship
  • took part in the Government of Canada Awards Program funded by GAC
  • obtained the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada–Chile
  • took part in the Canada–China Scholars’ Exchange Program
  • took part in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • completed the majority of your courses by distance learning
  • completed a study program at a non-Canadian institution located in Canada

Visit the IRCC website for detailed information about the eligibility criteria for the PGWP.

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Watch our guide on PGWP Part 1: Eligibility (Requires logging-in with UTORid)

Still wondering about your eligibility? Get personalized information with our Eligibility Tool.

When to apply

You must have proof of degree completion to apply for the PGWP.

Check with your registrar’s office (or department for graduate students) to determine the earliest date when they can confirm you have completed the requirements of the degree.

TIP

The earliest you can get confirmation of degree completion is when final marks are released in your final term of study (for undergraduate and some graduate students). Thesis-based graduate programs will usually require you to submit your revised thesis. In all cases, the date should be before your convocation ceremony.

From the earliest date you can get confirmation of degree completion, you have a maximum of 180 days to apply. If you do not, you will lose your eligibility for the PGWP until you complete another qualifying program.

IMPORTANT

If you are applying from within Canada, you should plan to apply no more than 90 days after the earliest date you can get confirmation of degree completion and before the expiry date printed on your study permit.

Standard required documents
  • Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM5710)
    • Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page. 
  • Proof of degree completion
    • Eligibility to graduate letter should be available from Registrar’s Office or department (for graduate students) shortly after final marks are released, or your revised thesis is submitted (if applicable).
  • Transcript
    • Available through ACORN. Officer reviews this to confirm that you studied full-time and without unauthorized breaks. The transcript does not need to include “degree conferred” (which can only be added after your convocation ceremony).
  • Copies from your passport or travel document, including the biographical page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings
    • Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).  
    • If you’ve got a brand new passport, you can provide copies from both your new and old passports, but put the new passport first, and mark it as ‘New Passport’ if possible. 
  • Passport-style photograph

You may need other documents, including, but not limited to: immigration medical exam results.

  • Biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) 
  • Immigration medical exam results (see section below).
How to apply

Online. Start by reviewing IRCC’s instruction guide for a PGWP application submitted within Canada.

For students with a spouse/partner with a Spousal Open Work Permit

For your spouse to be able to extend their open work permit along with your PGWP application, your application will need to include proof that you have a job that involves ‘skilled work’ (jobs in categories 0, A, or B in the National Occupational Classification. Without that, it may be necessary for your spouse to extend their status in Canada as a visitor until you can prove your skilled employment.

video player icon

Watch our guide on PGWP Part 2: Application Documents & Next Steps (Requires logging-in with UTORid)

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Watch our guide on PGWP Part 3: Create an Account with IRCC (Requires logging-in with UTORid)

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Watch our guide on PGWP Part 4: Online Questionnaire (Requires logging-in with UTORid)

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Watch our guide on PGWP Part 5: IMM5710 Application Form (Requires logging-in with UTORid)

Medical examination

If you are planning to work with children, or patients in the health services field, you must have an immigration medical exam. You will also require one if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months.

IRCC provides details about who requires immigration medical exams, who can offer them, and more.

If you require one, you can book the appointment before submitting your application, or you can do so once requested by IRCC. It is usually a good idea to do so in advance.

If you had an immigration medical exam within the 12 months prior to applying for your work permit, attach proof (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.

After submitting your application

If your study permit is still valid on the day you submit the application, and you have not worked illegally, you are allowed to begin full-time work immediately. You can continue working until a decision is made about your PGWP application.

If your study permit expires after you apply for the PGWP, but before a decision is made, you can remain in Canada under maintained status while you wait for an answer. 

You may receive a letter confirming your right to work while waiting for the application to be processed. The expiry date on that letter does not limit your right to work, but you can request an updated confirmation of your eligibility to work through IRCC’s web form if your employer requires it.

Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) should expire with your current study permit. If you start work before your SIN expires, you can continue working with the same employer under maintained status. You cannot renew your SIN until you get your PGWP. Due to hiring requirements, you may not be able to start a new job in the time between when your SIN expires and when you can get it renewed.

If you are required to provide biometrics, you’ll get a Biometric Instruction Letter after submitting your application and paying the $85 CAD biometric collection fee. The letter can be used to book a biometric appointment at any Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Application Support Centre (ASC).

Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application.

If you need to notify IRCC about a change, or ask about the status of your application, you can use their web form.

If your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is approved

IRCC will notify you through your IRCC account that the application was approved. The PGWP will be mailed to the Canadian mailing address you provided in the application. This process could take as long as 6 weeks.

Once you receive your Post-Graduation Work Permit, remember to apply to extend the validity of your Social Insurance Number (SIN). 

Most PGWP applications are submitted within Canada. If your circumstances allow, we recommend you do so.

If you apply from outside Canada, it may be problematic for you to enter Canada and begin working before your work permit has been approved. 

The in-Canada application process allows eligible students to begin working while the PGWP application is processed. Find more information about applying for a PGWP from within Canada. 

If you are still planning to apply from outside Canada, the following information can serve as a guide.

When to apply

You must have proof of degree completion to apply for the PGWP.

Check with your Registrar’s Office (or department for graduate students) to determine the earliest date when they can confirm you have completed the requirements of the degree.

The earliest you can get confirmation of degree completion is when final marks are released in your final term of study (for undergraduate and some graduate students). Thesis-based graduate programs will usually require you to submit your revised thesis. In all cases, the date should be before your convocation ceremony.

From the earliest date you can get confirmation of degree completion, you have a maximum of 180 days to apply. If you do not, you will lose your eligibility for the PGWP until you complete another qualifying program.

Standard required documents
  • Application For Work Permit Made Outside Canada (IMM1295)
    • Look for the title at the top of the application, or the code at the bottom-left corner of each page. Proof of degree completion
    • Eligibility to graduate letter should be available from Registrar’s Office or department (for graduate students) shortly after final marks are released, or your revised thesis is submitted (if applicable).
  • Transcript
    • Available through ACORN. Officer reviews this to confirm that you studied full-time and without unauthorized breaks. The transcript does not need to include “degree conferred” (which can only be added after your convocation ceremony).
  • Copies from your passport or travel document, including the biographical page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings
    • Including the biographical data page and all pages with visas, stamps or markings (your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond the expected date of your arrival to Canada).
    • If you’ve got a brand new passport, you can provide copies from both your new and old passports, but put the new passport first, and mark it as ‘New Passport’ if possible. 
  • Passport-style photograph
  • Biometrics (digital fingerprints and photographs) 

You may need other documents, including, but not limited to: immigration medical exam results.

  • Immigration medical exam results (see below).
  • Proof of ‘skilled work’ (only for students who have a spouse/partner in Canada with an open work permit)
    • This is necessary if the spouse or partner wants to extend their spousal open work permit to match your PGWP. Please review our Spousal Open Work Permit page for more information.

How to apply

Online. Start by reviewing IRCC’s instruction guide for a PGWP application submitted outside Canada.

For students with a spouse/partner with a Spousal Open Work Permit

For your spouse to be able to extend their open work permit along with your PGWP application, your application will need to include proof that you have a job that involves ‘skilled work’ (jobs in categories 0, A, or B in the National Occupational Classification). Without that, it may be necessary for your spouse to extend their status in Canada as a visitor until you can prove your skilled employment.

Medical examination

If you are planning to work with children, or patients in the health services field, you must have an immigration medical exam. You will also require one if you have been in a ‘designated’ country for at least 6 of the past 12 months.

IRCC provides details about who requires immigration medical exams, who can offer them, and more. 

If you require one, you can book the appointment before submitting your application, or you can do so once requested by IRCC. It is usually a good idea to do so in advance.

If you had an immigration medical exam within the 12 months prior to applying for your work permit, attach proof (i.e. a copy of your medical receipt). Failure to do so may result in processing delays or the rejection of your application.

After submitting your application

If you are required to provide biometrics, you’ll get a Biometric Instruction Letter after submitting your application and paying the $85 CAD biometric collection fee. The letter can be used to book a biometric appointment at any Visa Application Centre (VAC) or Application Support Centre (ASC).

Immigration officers may ask you for additional documentation to make a decision about your application.

If you need to notify IRCC about a change, or ask about the status of your application, you can use their web form.

If your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is approved

If your application is approved, the visa office serving the country where you submitted your application will issue you an approval letter, known as a Port of Entry Letter of Introduction, and a visa or an eTA (if applicable). Do not book travel to Canada until you’ve received your Letter of Introduction. Present the letter to the border officer when you enter Canada to get the hard copy of your study permit.

If you require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV, also known as an entry or visitor visa), you will be asked to submit your passport so that the visa officer can affix the visa. You do not need to make a separate application.

If you require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), you don’t have to submit your passport. An eTA will be issued electronically and associated with your passport number. Your eTA number and expiry date will be included in the Letter of Introduction.

Find more information about entering Canada.

Register for a live Question and Answer session (Requires logging-in with JOINid/UTORid)

FAQ

Estimated processing times give an idea of how long an application could take to be processed. If something outside of your control makes urgent processing important, you can contact IRCC through their web form to ask if it is possible. It may take up to two weeks to get a response. Note: Use the ‘Update or ask about your application’ option and then the ‘Other’ section, as the ‘Ask for urgent processing for your permanent resident card’ section doesn’t include study/work permits. 

You can begin working full-time under your study permit as soon as you submit your PGWP application (as long as you are eligible for the PGWP and your study permit was still valid when you submitted the application). In this case, you can remain in Canada under ‘maintained status(formerly known as ‘implied status’) and continue to work for as long as it takes for IRCC to process your application.  

If you have a job offer with an employer that is hesitant about having you start work before your long-term work permit is issued, and it will not be possible for you to get your PGWP in time, you may be able to apply for it when entering Canada from the United States.  

  • Students who can enter the United States can do so (from Canada) and complete the process on their return (either at a land border or at the airport where they arrive in Canada).  
  • Students who cannot enter the US can still complete this process at a land border crossing. This process is known by some as ‘flag-poling’. 
  • Flag-poling at some border crossings (including the Peace, Queenston-Lewiston, and Rainbow Bridges in the Niagara region – closest to Toronto) is limited to specific days and hours.
  • Even if you go during the identified days and times, Border Services Officers may choose not to process an application at the border. 
  • If flag-poling, it is a good idea to try visiting the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) office on the Canadian side before you leave Canada to ask if they can confirm that you have everything necessary for the process. 

Even if you have an in-Canada application in process, flag-poling requires you to submit a new application upon entry. That means you must have your supporting documentation and the ability to pay the fees again (noted above). If the work permit is issued, you can cancel the in-Canada application. If IRCC had not yet started processing your in-Canada application, you will get the whole fee refunded. If IRCC had started processing your application, you should get the $100 open work permit fee refunded. 

IMPORTANT: If you hope to work in fields that will bring you into close contact with people (ie. health care settings, child care or educational settings, or elder care) or will involve agricultural work, an Immigration Medical Exam must have been completed before applying at the border (preferably at least one month prior). Without the medical exam, your work permit may exclude work in these and similar areas. IRCC provides details about the medical exam requirements.

However you complete the process, you should be prepared to meet Canada’s entry requirements.

PGWP eligibility requires you to have studied full-time without unauthorized breaks. There may be situations where your part-time status can be explained and you can protect your eligibility. Find more information on taking a break from your studies

PGWP eligibility requires you to have studied full-time without unauthorized breaks. Your Faculty may have policies that allow your break to be authorized by U of T. This could protect your eligibility. Find more information on taking a break from your studies. 

 

 

If you have not yet applied for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

If you have a valid Temporary Resident Visa (TRV – commonly called an Entry or Visitor Visa) or electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and a valid study permit, you may travel and seek re-entry to Canada. A study permit remains valid until the expiry date printed on the permit or 90 days after you complete your studies, whichever comes first.

If you are planning on applying for a PGWP after re-entry to Canada, note that eligibility for work authorization while waiting for a decision on a PGWP application requires you to have a valid study permit when you apply.

A border services officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. The officer may ask you about your request to re-enter Canada. You can explain that you are a returning student who will be applying for a PGWP and show documentation that you are eligible to apply. For example:

  • Eligibility to graduate letter issued within the prior 90 days
  • Valid study permit

Permission to re-enter Canada is not guaranteed. The officer makes the final decision about your eligibility to enter.

We recommend that you apply for a post-graduation work permit prior to leaving Canada if you are able to do so.

If you have already applied for a Post-Graduation Work Permit

If you have a valid TRV or eTA, you may travel and re-enter Canada before a decision is made on your PGWP application. See this IRCC FAQ and IRCC website for more details.

Post-graduation work permit applicants remain eligible to work full time without a work permit while waiting for a decision on their application even after leaving and re-entering Canada. See this IRCC website for more details.

A border officer will have some questions for you when you arrive back in Canada. The officer may ask you about your request to re-enter Canada. You can explain that you applied for a post-graduation work permit and show documentation that you applied. For example:

  • A copy of acknowledgement of receipt from your PGWP application
  • The fee payment receipt

Permission to re-enter Canada is not guaranteed. The officer makes the final decision about your eligibility to enter.

If you have finished your coursework, exams or defended your thesis, and you were eligible to work according to the rules about on and off-campus work, you can continue working 20hrs a week off-campus or full-time on-campus until the University can confirm that you have completed your degree requirements. Once the University can confirm that you have completed your degree requirements, you must stop working immediately.

After Applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

You can begin working full-time after applying for a PGWP if you:

  • had a valid study permit when you submitted your application
  • completed your study program
  • were eligible to work off campus without a work permit while studying and you didn’t work more hours than you were allowed to

If your study permit expires after you apply, but before a decision is made about your PGWP, you can continue working until a decision is made on your application.

Check out our Resources page for more support.