What to do after your Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Expires

International students who complete a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that lasts more than 8 months are entitled to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP is an open work permit that allows international graduates to be employed by any employer in Canada.

Now that the majority of international students opt to stay in Canada after graduation to pursue employment possibilities, many are wondering how they may stay permanently in Canada. Because a PGWP is a non-extendable work permit, it only permits a restricted stay.

There are several options available for international graduates who desire to stay in Canada permanently or temporarily.

What to do after PGWP Expires?word image 6610 1

1. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are available in Canada for international graduates who want to live in their province.

The Express Entry technology is used by many nominee programs, known as ‘enhanced’ PNPs.

A candidate who receives a nomination through an upgraded PNP receives 600 points toward their Express Entry CRS score.

Throughout the epidemic, Canada has continued to hold Express Entry draws for PNP applicants.

As a result, a PGWP holder may benefit from Express Entry’s accelerated processing time. This might mean that PGWP holders could get permanent residency as soon as six months after applying.

There are still PNP possibilities available for PGWP holders who have not completed work experience in an occupational skill type qualifying for Express Entry. Many provinces have ‘base’ PNPs that allow candidates in TEER 0, 1, 2, and 3 of the National Occupation Classification (NOC) to apply.

2. Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)

The Atlantic Immigration Program assists recent graduates of an Atlantic post-secondary institute in obtaining permanent residency.

This scheme may allow PGWP holders to stay in Canada after their permission has expired.

Candidates must have completed a two-year qualifying program to be considered. Qualifying graduates must also have a job offer in one of the following provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador. The task can be in TEER 0, 1, 2, or 3.

The benefit of this program is that eligible overseas graduates are not required to have a certain amount of job experience.

This enables PGWP holders to apply even before they begin working. This may be advantageous for PGWP holders who have not earned sufficient work experience to apply for other programs before their permit expires.

3. Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)

You may be eligible to apply under the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) if you graduated from a publicly financed post-secondary institution in one of eleven specified rural locations across Canada.

Candidates for the pilot program must have a master’s degree or a two-year post-secondary school and have spent a certain amount of time in the community.

Each rural community has its own set of eligibility requirements for those who wish to apply to their program.

4. Work permit

Most work permits necessitate the time-consuming and costly procedure of getting a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

There are, however, other ways to apply for a work permit that does not require an LMIA. The International Mobility Program (IMP) of Canada allows Canadian firms to hire temporary foreign workers without having to conduct a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

To be eligible for an LMIA-exempt work visa, your job must provide broader economic, cultural, or other competitive advantages to Canada, as well as reciprocal benefits to Canadians and permanent residents.

You may be able to apply for a bridging open work permit if you are qualified to apply for permanent residency before your PGWP expires.

You will be able to work while your permanent residency application is being processed.

5. Begin a new postsecondary program.

In Canada, enrolling in a new post-secondary program may allow you to stay and work up to 20 hours per week. If you qualify,

6. Enroll in a new post-secondary program

Enrolling in a new post-secondary program in Canada may allow you to stay and work up to 20 hours per week.

If you are eligible for Express Entry but are awaiting an Invitation to Apply (ITA), this may be a method for you to stay in Canada while you wait.

It is vital to know that if you no longer have a valid work permit or maintain your status, you will be unable to work in Canada. To stay in Canada, you must have legal status.

How Can International Graduates Extend Their Stay Temporarily?

If you do not want to stay in Canada permanently, you can extend your stay temporarily through a variety of means.

To obtain a Canadian work permit, your business must obtain a favorable Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

According to an LMIA, the foreign worker was hired due to the inability of a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to execute the job.

The International Mobility Program (IMP) is another option for obtaining a Canadian work permit.

The IMP is intended for international workers who do not require an LMIA due to their occupation. Your work permit application will be processed by the IMP within two weeks.

There are additional trade treaties between Canada and other countries, such as the United States and Mexico, that allow US and Mexican people to go to Canada for employment if they have a job offer in one of the approved occupations.

If you are from a country with which Canada has a bilateral agreement, you may be eligible for a work permit through International Experience Canada (IEC).

What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

International students who have graduated from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) are eligible for Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs).

PGWPs are open work permits that allow foreign nationals to work for any company, anywhere in Canada.

The PGWP, unlike most Canadian work permits, does not necessitate a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). PGWPs enable qualified graduates to gain valuable work experience in Canada.

Many foreign nationals become eligible for Canada’s permanent residency programs after gaining sufficient work experience in the country, including one of the following paths:

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Worker (FSW)
  • Federal Skilled Trades (FST)
  • Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP)
  • Quebec Immigration Programs

Who is eligible for a PGWP?word image 6610 2

A foreign citizen must be at least 18 years old and have studied full-time in Canada for at least 8 months to be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

The study program must have been completed at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in one of the categories specified below.

A foreign national must also apply for a work permit within 180 days of finishing their study program.

If applying from within Canada, the applicant must have a valid status at the time of application. If their study permission has expired or is about to expire, they may apply for guest status before applying for the PGWP.

Applicants who apply for a PGWP before the expiration of their study permit, on the other hand, are permitted to begin working full-time immediately while their application is being processed. Applicants from other countries are welcome to apply for a PGWP.

Eligible Levels Of Study

PGWPs are available for the following levels of study and programs: public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, or university, or CEGEP in Quebec; or private post-secondary school that follows the same rules as public schools (only applies to certain institutions in Quebec); or

a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or more that lead to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or a Canadian private school that can legally award degrees under provincial law only to those enrolled in study programs leading to a degree as authorized by the province.

How long does it take to get a PGWP?

A PGWP could take anywhere from 80 to 180 days to complete.

You are free to work in Canada while waiting for your PGWP if you applied before your student permit expired.

You have 180 days from the day you fulfill all of the prerequisites of your program of study to apply for your PGWP.

If you leave Canada after finishing your education, you can now apply for a PGWP from abroad.

Previously, post-graduation work permit applications could only be submitted from within Canada. If a PGWP application is submitted from outside of Canada, the visa office may request further documentation.

Is it possible to apply for a work permit after my PGWP expires?

Nothing in the PGWP precludes you from later seeking another work permit. You are free to apply for both an LMIA and an LMIA exempt permit if you are eligible, but given your Canadian work experience, it may be worth considering applying for Canadian permanent residency.

Candidates with Canadian job experience can apply to the following immigration programs:

  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Quebec Immigration Options

Can I start working after graduating before applying for my PGWP?

International graduates who apply for a PGWP before their study permit expires can lawfully begin working in Canada.

These candidates are not required to have a Canadian work permit while they are waiting for a decision on their PGWP application.

If your student permit has expired, you may be entitled to petition for reinstatement if you have been out of status for fewer than 90 days.

How many times can I apply for a PGWP?

A PGWP can only be applied once. If you intend to continue your studies after completing your first program, or if you intend to pursue a longer degree program in Canada, you should apply for your PGWP strategically.

If you apply after the longest period of study, you will receive a PGWP with a maximum validity of three years.

How a PGWP can assist you in immigrating to Canada

The Post-Graduation Work Program in Canada is designed to make it easier for international students in the country to get permanent residency status.

By combining Canadian education with sufficient full-time job experience in the country, a candidate can apply for the Canadian Express Entry immigration procedure.

An Express Entry applicant who has a Canadian educational degree and work experience will receive valuable bonus points towards their complete ranking system (CRS) score, making them more competitive among other applicants for permanent residence status!

Provincial nominee programs (PNPs), or the Quebec Experience Class program if you studied in Quebec, are also immigration categories that favor candidates with a Canadian educational certificate and job experience.


What should I do when my PGWP expires?

  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
  • Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP)
  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP)
  • Work permit.
  • Enroll in a new post-secondary program.

What if my PGWP expires in 2024?

On October 27, 2023, Immigration Minister Marc Miller indicated that the PGWP program is being evaluated.

Even though the end of the year is approaching, there has been no word from the Government of Canada on a PGWP extension for 2024.

Is there an extension available for PGWP holders?

Because of a temporary policy put in place by IRCC, PGWP holders whose work permit expired or will expire in 2023, as well as those whose permit expired between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022, are eligible for a permit extension of up to 18 months as of April 6, this year.


In recent years, IRCC has granted PGWP work permit extensions three times. It implemented the measure in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout the post-pandemic recovery.

It permitted PGWP holders to work in Canada while IRCC experienced processing problems and suspended Express Entry drawings.

PGWP holders whose permits expire on or before December 31 are still eligible for the extension, according to the IRCC.

PGWPs allow international students to stay in Canada and work after finishing their academic program.

The permission is valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the candidate’s academic program, and is not renewed unless for specific extensions.


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