International Students

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Last Update: 11/02/2022

Eligibility
Eligibility Conditions

The post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows graduated students to work in Canada for up to 3 years.  The duration of the WP depends on the duration of the studies.  To be eligible you must:

  • Have completed your study program: You must obtain a letter from the Registrar’s Office indicating that you have satisfied all the conditions of your program (called an “attestation de fin d'études” in French) as well as a final transcript. At Polytechnique, graduates from the following programs are eligible for a post-graduation work permit:
    • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
    • Certificate in Engineering
    • DESS
    • Course-based Master (non-thesis) (MEng)
    • Research-based Master (thesis) (MASc)
    • PhD
  • Apply within 180 days following the availability of the confirmation of end of studies and final transcript;
  • If you are in Canada, you must hold a valid temporary resident status at the moment of applying for the PGWP:  you must either hold a valid study permit (SP) or have applied for a change to the conditions of your stay as a visitor.  Attention!  We remind you that for Polytechnique to be able to confirm the end of your studies, your CAQ and SP must be valid for the whole duration of your final term.  If they expire before your last term of registration, you will have to renew them and NOT change conditions of your stay as a visitor;
  • Have no prior post-graduation work permit on record following the completion of another study program;
  • You should have studied full-time during your program (= every term in the case of research-based programs).  An exception will be made for students who will have been granted a leave by the school that does not exceed 150 days (see what qualifies as "leave" here).

A PGWP is an open work permit, meaning that it’s not connected to a specific employer. Therefore, you can request a PGWP before you are offered a job.  

Application processing fees are $155. An additional $100 is charged as an open work permit holder fee.  An additional 85$ biometrics fee may apply.

PGWP Processing and Non-compliance with Eligibility Conditions

Attention!   The agent who will process your application will closely examine your transcript to see if you have complied with PGWP requirements.   Your PGWP application could be refused if you have not complied with any of the above-mentionned conditions. If it is obvious from your transcript that you do not meet some of the requirements, make sure to provide a letter of explanation (dated and signed) and give proofs, such as a copy of a plane ticket if you were not registered for a term and had left Canada.  Also provide proofs and explanations if you were granted a leave of less than 150 days by the school.  In all these cases, the agent will decide based on the information provided whether he issues the PGWP or not.

If you are not eligible to a PGWP, you might meet requirements for other types of work permit.  Take note that our service does not provide counselling on work permits that are not directly related to the study permit.

Permit Validity

Students who completed a study program lasting 2 or more years (i.e., a bachelor’s, master’s or PhD program) are eligible for a PGWP valid for 3 years.

Students who completed a study program lasting less than 2 years (i.e., a DESS or certificate program) are eligible for a PGWP valid for a period no longer than the study program.

Immigration agents generally take into consideration the length of the study program stipulated in your admission letter (= anticipated duration). If you would like the actual duration of your program to be taken into account, you must supply documents proving how long your program lasted (e.g., complete transcripts).

If you completed two study programs taken successively, you may be able to obtain a PGWP valid for a period equivalent to their combined durations, for a maximum of 3 years.

Processing Times

Processing times are posted on the IRCC website.  They vary on a regular basis and different processing times may apply according to where the application is being processed. 

Keep in mind that the times posted on the IRCC website do not include mailing of the permit, for those applying from inside Canada.   You should add an extra week to receive your permit, once it is approved.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A PGWP?

In order to apply for a PGWP, you will need to request online or to obtain at the Registrar's Office the following two documents: a certificate of end of studies (attestation de fin d'études) and a final transcript.  Both documents will be available once your online student file shows that Polytechnique recommanded your diploma (diplôme recommandé).  

Applying from inside Canada

To apply from within Canada, you must hold a valid study permit or visitor status and you must submit your application within 180 days following the availability of the documents indicating the end of your program

If your study permit expires before you are eligible to apply for a PGWP, you will need to complete an Application to Change Conditions, Extend my Stay or Remain in Canada as a Visitor to maintain a valid temporary resident status. Include a covering letter (dated and signed) explaining that you wish to change your status to visitor because you wish to apply for a PGWP. 

Attention!  We remind you that in order for Polytechnique to be able to confirm the end of your studies, your CAQ for studies and study permit have to cover the entire lenght of your last term of registration.  If your documents expire before the end of the term, you will need to renew them, and NOT send an application to modify your status as a visitor.  

You have to apply for your PGWP online, as on-paper applications are accepted only in rare cases described on the IRCC website.

When applying online for a PGWP, you don’t have to send any documents by mail. Instead, simply scan your documents and upload them to your account.

When determining the eligibility of your application, IRCC does not take into account the date your application file was created or the date you paid the application fees. The only date they consider is the date your application was submitted (application completed, paid for and sent to IRCC). This date must be within the allocated 180-day period.

The in-Canada applications are processed in the Case Processing Center in Edmonton.  Once the application is approved, the PGWP will be mailed to your address.

Applying from outside Canada

You can apply for a PGWP in a Canadian visa office from abroad.  If you leave Canada, you do not need to respect the condition of having a valid student or visitor status when applying, but you still need to do it within a 180-day timeframe following the official end of your studies. 

You can applying online or make an on-paper application through a Visa Application Center (VAC), that will transfer your application to a Canadian Visa Office (CVO) for processing purposes.  Note that if you have not provided your biometrics to IRCC within the last 10 years, you will need to go to a VAC to do so.  Biometrics fees of 85$ will be added to the processing fees and to the open work permit fees (see section on biometrics below). 

Once the application has been accepted, the CVO will issue a letter of introduction for the PGWP and a temporary resident visa or, if needed, an electronic travel authorization (eTA).  Your PGWP will be issued by a Canadian border service agent upon your arrival in Canada.  Note that this agent will take the final decision in regards to your eligibility to remain as a worker in Canada.  We thus invite you to have with you a copy of the forms and of your supporting documents used in your application, including proofs of your financial capacity, especially if you have yet to find employment.

Applying at a Canadian Port of Entry

ATTENTION!  Hours of service have been established for the processing of work permit applications at the Canadian-American border.  Please refer to the CBSA website for details.  As a limited number of cases are processed each day on a first come first served basis, we advise you to arrive on place a few hours before, in order to increase your chances of being selected.

You can apply for a PGWP at a Canadian port of entry, such as at the airport when flying into Canada or at the border crossing when travelling by land. The application will be processed by a Border Services agent and the permit will be issued on the spot. When you apply at a land port of entry, you’ll have to leave Canadian soil in order to cross the border again. When you re-enter Canada, you will be subject to the usual customs verifications.

There is no form to fill out, but you must have all the necessary support documents, including your letter confirming completion of studies (“attestation de fin d’études” in French) and/or your final transcripts confirming your eligibility for graduation. These documents must be issued by the Registrar’s Office. Do not use the ones generated by your online student file. For more information on what support documents are needed, conduct an online application simulation or consult the Document Checklist.

To apply at a port of entry, you must have a valid study permit or visitor status and submit your application within 180 days following the availability of the documents confirming the end of your studies at Polytechnique.  IRCC instructions state that in order to be eligible to apply for a PGWP at a point of entry, you must be exempt from the requirement for a temporary resident visa (source). In other words, if you come from a country where a temporary resident visa is required to enter Canada, you are in theory not eligible to apply for a PGWP at a Canadian port of entry and must therefore apply online or by mail.

Important: If you plan on going to the Canadian-American border (flagpoling), it is important that at that time, you still have a valid temporary resident status in Canada (student or visitor).  Do not leave Canada thinking that you could be readmitted if your status is expired, as entrance to Canada could be denied.  

Biometrics

Applicants are required to provide their biometrics, unless they have already provided them to IRCC in the last ten years in a prior application (ex: study or work permit, temporary resident visa). Since December 3 2019, this obligation also applies for in-Canada applications.

Biometrics consist of a photograph and fingerprints, which are used by the Canadian government to establish a person's identity. If you are required to provide them, the fee is $85 CDN (170$ for a family unit); you will need to take an apointment and present yourself at a Service Canada collection center for in-Canada applications, or go directly at a point of entry, if the application is made on site.  If you apply from abroad, you will need to go to an Application Support Center or a Visa Application Center (VAC).

If you have to provide biometrics, you can still complete the online application for your PGWP. To proceed with biometric data collection, IRCC will upload an instruction letter on your MyCIC account once they receive your application. Follow the instructions in the letter. Print a copy of the letter and bring it with you, as well as all required documents when you go to the biometrics data collection centre. Note that processing times posted on the IRCC website do not include the time required to travel to the collection center.

Once collected, biometrics remain valid for ten years.

To learn more on biometrics, visit the IRCC website.

Transition between studying and obtaining a PGWP

Students who have completed their academic activities and who are admissible to off-campus work can continue working a maximum of 20h/week until they receive a written confirmation of the end of their program, on the condition that their study permit is not expired.  ***Temporary Measure*** From November 15, 2022 through December 31, 2023, IRCC will allow eligible international students to work more than 20 hours/week.  Students must stop performing any work authorized under their SP as soon as Polytechnique confirms that their study program has ended. At Polytechnique, this confirmation occurs when the Registrar’s Office makes your final transcripts available with the mention “diplôme recommandé” (literally “degree recommended”) in your online student file.

Depending on the program, transcripts confirming that a degree has been recommended are issued when:

  • Course-based programs (Bachelor’s, DESS and Non-Thesis Master’s): Exams, internship reports or final projects are corrected, final grades are entered into the student’s file and the Registrar’s Office verifies that all the conditions for graduation described in the academic rules have been satisfied;
  • Research programs (Thesis Master’s or PhD): Corrections requested by the thesis defense committee/Registrar’s Office have been made by the student and the Registrar’s Office verifies that all the conditions for graduation described in the academic rules have been satisfied;.

Once your final transcripts are available and you are able to obtain the letter confirming study program completion (“attestation de fin d’études” in French) from the Registrar’s Office, you have 180 days to submit your PGWP application. 

Article 186(W) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations states that graduands whose study permit authorizing off-campus work is still valid at the time of their PGWP application may work full-time from the day that they submit their application. Unlike other types of work permits, you don’t have to wait to receive the permit in order to start working. If a permit is issued, you can simply continue working. However, if your application is rejected, you must stop working.

Students who have applied for a PGWP while on implied status (i.e. waiting for a response in regard of an application for the renewal of their study permit submitted before its expiry) must wait for the issuance of their PGWP before being allowed to work.  

The right to work while waiting for the PGWP does not apply to those who have transitioned to a visitor status and whose study permit is no longer valid at the time of their PGWP application.  They must wait for the issuance of their PGWP before being allowed to work.

RAMQ

Please note that RAMQ offers medical insurance to cover illness and hospitalization (but not medication) if your work permit says “post-graduation” on it. This is available to anyone, regardless of your country of citizenship. To obtain this coverage, contact RAMQ as soon as you receive your PGWP. For more information on the subject, please contact RAMQ.

Workshops on permanent residence and PGWP

These procedures seem complicated ?  For more guidance, attend then online sessions on PGWP and permanent residence in Québec offered by the initiative "I Choose Montréal".