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 the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
Temporary IRCC Measure
The Government of Canada has announced a special measure allowing individuals to extend their post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For details, visit IRCC – Canada announces extension of post-graduation work permits for up to 18 months to retain high-skilled talent.
Updated May 30, 2023
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Introduction to post-graduation work permits
A post-graduation work permit, or PGWP, is an open work permit that allows international 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.
Note that students can receive only one PGWP in their lifetime.
There are a number of criteria and important considerations relating to PGWP eligibility. If you are considering applying for a PGWP, carefully review all of the information at Work in Canada after you graduate: Who can apply on the IRCC website.
If you plan to apply for a PGWP, understand that meeting the eligibility criteria and submitting the application are your responsibilities and also that all PGWPs are issued at the discretion of IRCC.
BCIT International Student Centre staff deliver live, virtual informational workshops each term about PGWPs as part of our weekly workshop series.
The validity 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 equivalent to the length of the program.
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.
Note that if your actual duration of studies is shorter than the stated program length – and the program is not considered to be accelerated – then an IRCC officer has the discretion to base their decision on the exact start and end date of your actual courses rather than the stated program length. If your actual duration of studies is less than 8 months, an IRCC officer may determine you are not eligible for a PGWP regardless of BCIT’s stated program length.
If you are unsure of how long BCIT considers your program to be, check you program’s webpage or request that information by emailing email@example.com with:
- A statement requesting to know the length of a program for PGWP purposes, and
- A link to the exact program webpage on the BCIT site.
It is 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 the following pages on the IRCC website:
- Work in Canada after you graduate: About the post-graduation work permit
- Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) work permit validity and application.
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:
- Guide 5580 – for applying from inside Canada
- Guide 5487 – for applying from outside Canada
Required supporting documents from BCIT
In addition to other checklist items, you will require two documents from BCIT:
*Ensure that your credential has been awarded before making a digital copy of your unofficial transcripts or requesting official transcripts.
When to apply
We generally advise applying for a PGWP:
- within 90 days of the last day of your program,
- while you still have a valid study permit, and
- as soon as you have the required supporting documents from BCIT listed above.
This may allow you to become 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.
For more information, visit IRCC – Work in Canada after you graduate: How to apply.
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 with the same conditions you were allowed during your studies 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 are no longer authorized to work 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 a 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: