Your Post-Graduation Work Permit is the first step to staying in Canada after graduation. It is very hard for most students to work in Canada or to become a permanent resident without a Post-Graduation Work Permit. You can only get this permit once in your life, so be sure that you plan it well!
- The permit allows you to work at any job anywhere in the country for up to three years
- It is easy to get if you earned a degree or diploma from a public college or university in Canada
- You usually can’t get a Post-Graduation Work Permit if you attended a private college, unless you studied in Quebec
- Deadlines and rules are very strict
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The Post-Graduation Work Permit allows you to take any job anywhere in Canada for up to three years. It is what’s called an “open” work permit. That means employers can hire you in the same way they would hire any Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
You must have graduated from a diploma, degree or certificate program at a Canadian university or a publicly funded college. You may also qualify if you attended a private college in Quebec. Your study program must have been at least eight months long. You must have studied full time in every term of your diploma or degree except for the last term, when you may have studied part-time.
- You will not get a Post-Graduation Work Permit if your diploma is from a language school.
- You are unlikely to get a Post-Graduation Work Permit if you studied at a private college outside Quebec.
- You will not get it if more than half of your courses were taken online.
- You can only get this permit once in your life, so plan carefully.
- You won’t be granted a Post-Graduation Work Permit if you received certain international scholarships.
- You may need to renew your Temporary Resident Visa if you want to leave Canada and return.
The length of the permit depends on how long you studied, and at what level.
- If your program was less than two years, the permit should be issued for the same length of time as your degree. If you finished an 18-month diploma, your Post-Graduation Work Permit will last for 18 months.
- If your program lasted two years or more, you should be granted a three-year Post-Graduation Work Permit.
- If you completed a Master’s degree in 16 months or more, you should be granted a three-year Post-Graduation Permit even though your degree took less than two years.
- If you finish a program that is at least two years long, take a break for less than a year and then do a one-year program, you are still eligible for a three-year Post-Graduation Work Permit. For example, if you do a four-year undergraduate degree and then a one-year Master’s degree, you will get a three-year Post-Graduate Work Permit.
You must use the permit all at once. For example, if you are granted a three-year Post-Graduation Work Permit after finishing an undergraduate degree, you cannot work for one year with the permit, go back to school for a two-year Master degree and then use the final two years of the permit. You will only get one permit in your lifetime and you must use it all at once.
You must apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit within 90 days of finishing your studies. If you don’t apply within 90 days, you lose your chance to get this permit.
Most graduates will apply for this permit online. It can take several months for it to be issued. You are allowed to stay in Canada and work in Canada while waiting for the permit to be issued.
Citizens of some countries need a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada. For example, if you are from China, a Temporary Resident Visa was probably put in your passport at the same time as your first Study Permit. The Temporary Resident Visa allows you to cross the Canadian border. The Study Permit allows you to attend school. If you are from the United States, you don’t need a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada. If you have a Temporary Resident Visa, it may expire when you graduate. If so, you should also apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa at the same time that you apply for your Post-Graduation Work Permit.
The federal government charges a $255 application fee for the Post-Graduation Work Permit. There is a $100 fee for a new Temporary Resident Visa.
Your spouse or common-law partner may be issued an open work permit if you have a Post-Graduate Work Permit and if you can prove that you are working in a managerial, professional or skilled job.