Canada Changes Post-Graduation Work Permits for International Students


Canada is one of the top study destinations for international students and every year thousands of students apply to Canadian universities. As per statista.com, in 2022, there were 807,260 international students in Canada at year end. One of the reasons is the post graduation work permit Canada provides. Other than the quality education, and state-of-the-art infrastructure, the work permit draws a huge number of students to Canada. It provides them with the opportunity to gain crucial work experience after graduation through the PGWP program which stands for post-graduation work permit.

However, change is the only constant. Recently, the government of Canada announced changes to its post graduation work permit rules. This change is bound to affect the international students studying there.

So, what are the new post graduate work permit Canada rules? Read further to find out.

Before we talk about the changes in PGWP, let us first understand what a post graduate work permit is.

A PGWP is an excellent opportunity for international students to stay and work in Canada. With PGWP, students who have completed their degree, diploma, or certificate program from a Canadian post-graduate institution can gain valuable work experience in Canada. A big advantage of this work experience is that it can help one qualify for permanent residency in Canada. Thus, it makes for an appealing option for international students.

Though the duration of PGWP depends on the study program, the maximum duration is three years for programs having a duration of more than two years. This work experience allows students to gain experience in their field of study, stay updated with the latest trends, and help them to obtain permanent residency.

Now let us look at the changes made to the PGWP program.

It was in February 2021 that the Canadian government announced changes to the Post graduate work program. These changes came into effect on May 6, 2021. The objective behind introducing these changes was to provide more flexibility and increased work opportunities to international students studying in Canada.

The following are the key changes made to the Post Graduate Work Permit Canada Rules

  • International students can now complete their entire program online from outside of Canada and still be eligible for a Post Graduate Work Permit Canada.
  • The new extended time frame for international students to apply for a PGWP after completing their program is 180 days compared to the earlier timeframe of 90 days.
  • Students who completed a study program of less than two years duration is also eligible to apply for a PGWP for the same length as that of their study program.
  • Students who have completed a study program of two years or longer duration can now apply for a PGWP of up to three years.

These changes were made considering the impact of COVID-19 on international students who were compelled to complete their studies online from their country. These changes are surely going to benefit all the international students studying in Canada.

How will these changes impact the international students in Canada?

post graduation impact

Flexible learning option

One of the most important changes to the PGWP program is that it now allows international students to complete their program online outside of Canada. Thus, they are now eligible for PGWP without an on-campus program. This is a huge shift from the earlier condition that demanded students to complete at least 50% of their program on campus.

With this change in effect, international students have more flexibility to complete their program. It will also reduce their study cost, living costs, accommodation, and living expenses. 

Enhanced work opportunities

With the extension from 90 days to 180 days, international students now have enough time after completing their study program to obtain a work opportunity and gain valuable experience.

Moreover, the recent adjustments to the duration of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for courses less than two years and those lasting two years or more will open more opportunities for international students to accumulate work experience. This update is particularly advantageous for students who have finished shorter courses and were previously ineligible for a PGWP.

Smoother transition to permanent residency

Though PGWP has always been a ladder to reach permanent residency in Canada, now with the changes, this has become even more accessible. Now that international students can complete their entire program online, and have the extended time frame to apply for a PGWP, they have more opportunities to accumulate relevant work experience and qualify for a permanent residency.

How can you apply for a PGWP?

Let us now look at the eligibility criteria and the process of applying for a PGWP.

To meet the PGWP criteria, an applicant should have:

  • Completed a study program from a designated Canadian institute
  • A valid study permit at the time of applying for the PGWP
  • Completed a study program of a minimum eight months duration
  • Been a full-time student during the study program
  • A transcript, diploma, or certificate from the designated learning institution

Application Process for PGWP

application process for PGWP

You can apply for a PGWP online by logging in to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. The application fee is CAD 255.

Documents needed for the application process:

  • A copy of a valid passport
  • A copy of the study permit
  • A copy of transcript, diploma, or certificate
  • Proof of completion of the program of study
  • Proof of full-time student status during the program of study

In addition to the above-mentioned documents, an applicant must also provide a letter of explanation outlining their intention to work in Canada and how it relates to their studies.

Always look for post graduate work permit Canada college list to ensure that the institute you have applied to is a designated institute. 


It is pretty evident that the changes made to the PGWP program augur well for international students. It will enhance their chances of getting even better work opportunities in Canada post completion of their study program, and it will also make the process of obtaining permanent residency smoother for them. 

In case you need further assistance, Manya -The Princeton Review is your one stop solution for all your study abroad queries. Get in touch with our study abroad experts to accomplish your study abroad dream.

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What changes have been made to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program in Canada?

The recent changes to the PGWP program include adjustments to the length of the permit for graduates from programs shorter than two years and for those from programs two years or longer. 

How do the changes affect graduates from programs shorter than two years?

Graduates from programs shorter than two years are now eligible for longer work permits than before.

What benefits do these PGWP changes bring to international students?

The changes to the PGWP program offer several benefits to international students, including extended opportunities to gain work experience in Canada, increased eligibility for longer work permits for those from shorter programs, and enhanced prospects for permanent residency.

How can international graduates apply for the PGWP under the new rules?

International graduates should apply for the PGWP online through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

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