Work Permit for International Students in Canada

Work after Studying in Canada

International student
Work permit for international students

One of the most common myths international students have is that they need to possess work experience related to field of their study for permanent residence of Canada. This is not true as it depends on type of immigration program they apply under. A student can apply for Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) to gain Canadian work experience after graduation from a Canadian post-secondary institution. Depending on length of program of study, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) grants the work permit for not more than three years. If a student is granted a Post-Graduation Work Permit, they can apply for job related to any field. Student who gains skilled Canadian work experience can apply for permanent residence of Canada under various immigration programs such as Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program.

A PGWP can be applied online or via mail. In order to be eligible to apply for this work permit, an applicant must:

  • Have studied full-time in Canada and must have completed a program of study that lasted at least eight months.
  • Have graduated from:
    • a public post-secondary institution, such as college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec), or
    • a private post-secondary institution that operates under same rules and regulations as public institutions, or
    • a private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer leading to a diplome d’etudes professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de specialisation professionnelle (ASP), or
    • a Canadian private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees but only if an applicant is enrolled in one of the programs of study leading to a degree as authorized by the province and not in all programs of study offered by the private institution.
  • Apply for a work permit within 90 days of receiving written confirmation, such as a transcript or official letter, from the institution stating that the applicant has completed the program of study.
  • Have completed and passed the program of study.
  • Have a valid study permit when applying for the work permit.

A work permit does not allow an entry to Canada; an applicant should ensure that he or she has a valid temporary resident visa (TRV) at all times during his or her stay in Canada especially before leaving Canada. A valid work permit only allows an applicant to work and have a legal stay in Canada.

A Post-Graduate Work Permit is issued only once. If an applicant wishes to apply for a new work permit, he or she has to get a valid job offer letter from a Canadian employer. The employer has to apply for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). Once the employer gets a positive LMIA, the applicant applies for a work permit along with the LMIA and job offer letter. However, in certain exceptional situations or jobs, LMIA is not needed.


Copyright 2015 Prateek Babbar, RCIC

Author disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general use only and does not constitute to any sort of legal consultation. Please note the info in this website is subject to change and should be consulted with a professional consultant or a government ministry before acting upon any information that may appear in this article. For any legal advice regarding specific case related to Canadian immigration matter, you can contact us at



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