The information provided below is not legal advice and is intended for general information purposes only. For the most up-to-date information, please visit Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) on the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Special PGWP eligibility measures & COVID-19
On January 8, 2021 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued a news release stating that “Foreign nationals in Canada affected by the pandemic with an expired or expiring PGWP will have a unique chance to apply for another open work permit. These will be valid for 18 months and allow former international students to remain in Canada, continue to seek employment and build their future in this country.” Details on how to apply will be added to IRCC’s website on January 27, 2021.
See How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected on the IRCC website for the most up-to-date information for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduction to post-graduation work permits
A post-graduation work permit, or PGWP, is an open work permit that allows students to remain in Canada and work temporarily after graduation. Obtaining a PGWP is an excellent way to be able to gain valuable work experience in Canada after graduation and to open up pathways towards permanent residence to Canada.
Students are responsible for meeting the eligibility criteria and for submitting their own application to IRCC. It is important to remember that PGWPs are a privilege provided to international students by the Government of Canada.
Note that students can receive only one PGWP in their lifetime. If you plan on completing more than one program in Canada, consider the best time to apply for the PGWP.
To be eligible for a PGWP, an international student must:
- Have completed a program of study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) such as BCIT that is at least 8 months in length which led to a degree, diploma or certificate
- Have continuously studied with full-time status in each term of your completed program(s) (exceptions: scheduled breaks and studying part-time in your final academic term)
- Have not exceeded the number of allowable hours of off-campus work
- Apply within 180 days of the last day of your program*
*See When to apply below for important details.
For more information, visit Working in Canada after you graduate: who can apply on the IRCC website.
Special measures due to COVID-19
IRCC has indicated that special PGWP eligibility considerations may apply to students in particular scenarios. If you fall into any of the following scenarios, click to expand the information that may pertain to you. See How your post-graduation work permit (PGWP) eligibility is affected for more details from IRCC.
The length of a PGWP depends on the length of the eligible program(s) completed, from a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years. Programs that are 2 years in length or longer may be eligible for the 3 years maximum. Programs that are at least 8 months but less than 2 years in length may be eligible for a PGWP validity equivalent to the length of the program.
For PGWP validity purposes, program length at BCIT is determined by how long it should take to complete a program with full-time status given the credential and credit value. This information is included on all International Confirmation of Graduation letters and a special note will be made for students who have graduated from a program that is considered to be accelerated.
It is very important to note that a PGWP cannot be issued past the validity of your passport. If your passport is expiring soon, extend it first before applying for the PGWP. This will help you avoid going through another PGWP application process and paying the fees again.
For more information, visit Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) work permit validity and application on the IRCC website.
How to apply
International students are responsible for submitting their own PGWP application to IRCC. You may apply for a PGWP online.
To help prepare for your application, review the IRCC instructions guides:
In addition to other checklist items, you will require two documents from BCIT:
When to apply
Students are encouraged to apply for a PGWP within 90 days of their last day of their program, with a valid study permit. By doing so, you may be eligible to work full-time once you have submitted your PGWP application and while you are waiting for a decision to be made on your application.
Note that your study permit will become invalid 90 days after the last day of your program or on your study permit expiry date, whichever comes first.
Alternately, you may apply within 180 days of the last day of your program if your study permit expires or becomes invalid and:
- you are still in Canada and you have implied status (visitor or student), hold valid visitor status or applied/will apply to restore your status as a student; or
- you are applying from outside Canada.
If you apply after 90 days, you will not be eligible to work right away and must wait until you receive your PGWP before starting to work.
Work eligibility before and after submitting a PGWP application
After completing all of your courses but before applying for a PGWP, you may continue to work-off campus up to 20 hours per week if:
- your study permit is still valid; and
- you were eligible to work off-campus while you were studying.
Once your graduation has been processed by Student Records and your credential has been awarded, you must stop working immediately until you submit your PGWP application. You can see if your graduation has been processed by checking if a credential has been awarded on your unofficial transcripts in myBCIT.
Keep in mind that students completing Business Fundamentals, Bachelor of Business Administration, a part-time studies program, or modified full-time program must submit an Application for BCIT Credential Form [PDF] in order for their graduation to be processed (students completing full-time programs on schedule with their cohort do not need to submit this form).
After submitting an application for PGWP you may be eligible to work full-time while you are waiting for a decision to be made on your application.
For more information, visit: Work in Canada after you graduate: after you apply on the IRCC website.
When applying for a PGWP, it is important to remember to update or renew the following: