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The majority of international students who complete a post-secondary education in Canada wish to stay and gain Canadian work experience.
Upon completion of a qualifying program at an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution, foreign graduates can apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which allows them to work in Canada.

In an attempt to retain more international students, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has recently made changes to the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program to make it more flexible and responsive to the needs of international Students. Using the Post-Graduate Work Permit, international students can work for any employer in any industry of their choice. The Post-Graduate work permit is valid for a maximum of three years and can be obtained without a Canadian job offer at the time of application.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for a Post-Graduate Work Permit, international students must:

  • have been enrolled full-time for the eight months prior to the completion of their program (please see note below) and must have graduated from:
  • a public post-secondary educational institution (university, college, or CEGEP); or
  • a private post-secondary educational institution that functions under the same rules and guidelines as public institutions, and receives a minimum of 50 per cent of its financing for operations from government grants; or
  • a Canadian private academic institution authorized by provincial or territorial statute to confer degrees;
    have successfully completed the program of study and received written notification that they are eligible to obtain their degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • apply for a work permit in less than 90 days of receiving written confirmation from their academic institution that they have satisfied all the requirements of their program; and
  • Own a legally acceptable study permit when applying for the work permit.

Potential applicants should note that:

To obtain a three year work permit, the student should have at least pursued a two year minimum program. However, if the program was less than two years but longer than eight months, then the graduate can obtains a work permit that is the same duration as the program of study.

In a situation where the graduate obtained a one year degree or diploma from a certified educational institution, but had previously successfully completed a two year degree or diploma from an accredited educational institution, he or she may qualify for a three year open work permit; and

Although a student should be enrolled full time in the last eight months prior to the date of application for an open work permit, an exception is made when the student fulfils all the requirements but is not enrolled full time in the last session of their program. For example, if a student only needs one or two course(s) in the final semester to complete the program but has been a full time student throughout the study program, then the student may still apply for the Post-Graduate Work Permit Program.

For more information on these categories, kindly contact us at [email protected] or through the other avenues on our contact us page.