Post-Graduation Work Permits

Many international students who have completed their studies in Canada will be eligible for an open work permit called a post-graduation work permit. This work permit allows foreign nationals to gain Canadian work experience, and may in turn help a foreign national qualify for permanent residence in Canada.

To qualify for a post-graduation work permit, a foreign national must demonstrate that they:

  • Graduated from a participating post-secondary institution in Canada;
  • Have been issued a document from the Canadian institution confirming that they have completed and passed all program requirements;
  • Studied continuously and full-time in Canada in a program that is at minimum eight months in duration;
  • Have applied for their work permit within 90 days of the date of the letter that confirms that they completed their program of studies; 
  • Are at least 18 years of age; and
  • Have a valid study permit at the time of application.

Prior to applying for the post-graduation work permit, a foreign national must ensure that their program of study is eligible. A foreign national must have completed a program of study from:

  • A public post-secondary school – such as a college, trade or technical school or a university;
  • A private post-secondary school that operates under the same regulations as a public school;
  • A private secondary or post-secondary school in the province of Quebec that offers programs that will lead to a DEP or ASP, provided that the programs are a minimum of 900 hours; or
  • A private post-secondary school that can legally award degrees under provincial law and that program is authorized by the province.

A post-graduation work permit will be issued for the length of the foreign national’s program, up to a maximum of three years:

  • If the program was between eight months but less than two years in length – the work permit will be issued for the length of the program;
  • If the program was two years or more in length – the work permit will be issued for three years.

If the program of study was less than eight months in length, a foreign national is not eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

In addition, a foreign national is only eligible for one post-graduation work permit. If a foreign national completes one program and is issued a post-graduation work permit, and then subsequently returns to study, they will not be issued a new post-graduation work permit once they complete their second program.