Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit

Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit

Jamaica to Canada

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Dear Mr Brown,

I just graduated from Centennial College. Thank you for all of your assistance throughout the process; it was a life-changing experience. There are hundreds of us Jamaicans at the school. Centennial takes good care of us as international students and we are doing Jamaica proud! I am now ready to apply for the work permit. I believe it will be valid for three years. Please give me some pointers.

— MW


Dear MW:

Thank you very much for the positive feedback. It is greatly appreciated.



The PGWP is a document issued by the Government of Canada, to eligible foreign students, which allows the bearer to legally work in Canada after completing studies.

It is an open work permit that allows international graduates to work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and change employers at any time. Skilled Canadian work experience in occupations rated skill level A or B, or skill type O under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC), can help international graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class.

The overall requirement is for a foreign student to graduate from an approved programme of study at an eligible, post-secondary institution in Canada that is participating in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Programme.

International students in Canada are eligible for a work permit for post-graduation employment only if they have engaged in full-time studies for at least eight months at a:

• Public post-secondary institution such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec); or

• A private post-secondary institution that operates under the same rules and regulations as public institutions; or

• A private secondary or post-secondary institution (in Quebec) offering qualifying programmes of 900 hours or longer, leading to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP); or

• A Canadian private institution authorised by provincial statute to confer degrees, but only if the student is enrolled in one of the programmes of study leading to a degree as authorised by the province, and not in all programmes of study offered by the private institution.


The period given to recent graduates to apply for the PGWP has been increased from 90 days to 180 days, once they obtain their notice of graduation. In addition, the applicants do not need a valid study permit as a requirement for the PGWP, although the study permit must have been valid at some point, along with adherence to Canadian immigration laws during the period in Canada.

The changes give students ample time to apply for a PGWP (and seek employment).

I wish you continued success!


Please visit for additional information on Canadian permanent residence programmes, including Express Entry, the Study & Work Programme, visas or appeals, etc.

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel and an accredited Canadian education agent of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration and education firm in Kingston. Send questions/comments to

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