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Post-Grad Work Permit Extension Eligibility

Are You Eligible and How to Apply for a Post-Graduate Open Work Permit (PGWP) Extension

The Canadian government recently implemented a public policy that allows international students with expired or expiring post-graduate open work permits to obtain an extension to make up for time lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


International students who complete their studies and graduate from a Canadian education program may be eligible to obtain a work permit to stay and practice professionally in Canada. This work permit is referred to as a Post Graduate Open Work Permit or PGWP.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has created programs designed to retain international students by making available post-graduate work permits that are valid for up to 3 years. Using this permit, an international student, upon graduation, can work for any Canadian employer without an employer-specific job offer (LMIA). The Post Graduate Work Permit is LMIA exempt and falls under code C50. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you have a "valid" job offer where your express entry profile is concerned. In order to obtain 50 points towards your profile, you must still have an LMIA supported job offer from a Canadian employer.

It is essential to plan for and to make full use of the PGWP opportunity since each international student is only eligible for this perk of studying once.

Eligibility To Obtain a Post Graduate Work Permit

in order to combat the unemployment and economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has implemented a public policy that allows students with expired or expiring post-graduate open work permits to obtain an extension to make up for time lost. If you are a student who is in this situation, to obtain a Post Graduate Open Work Permit (PGWP), you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must have completed studies in an academic, professional, or vocational training program.

  • The education program must be at least eight months long

  • The education program must be from an eligible institution from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI). See the list of DLIs here

  • The completed study program must lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate

  • You must have held every session of the academic program as a full-time student, except for the final session which may be part-time.

  • There should be no gaps in your period of study except for minor exceptions involving leave from study or final academic session.

  • The candidate must have graduated from their program of study

  • The candidate must have an official letter and a transcript from the eligible DLI for confirmation of the applicant’s requirements for the study program

If the student has achieved all of the above they may then apply for their Post Graduate Work Permit. Students have 180 days to apply for their work permit. During that time they should hold a valid study permit or have held a valid study permit.

Any work experience obtained in a national occupation code skill type 0, A or B will qualify as Canadian work experience and will improve the student's overall Express Entry Score, which may eventually lead to an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency. This also opens up eligibility into the Canadian Experience Class of Express Entry. We recommend you keep this in mind while you are studying and are looking for work so that you are able to take full advantage of this extremely beneficial program.


To be eligible for this open work permit, you must meet the following 5 requirements:

1.Your post-graduation work permit (PGWP)

  • expired on or after January 30, 2020, or

  • will expire within 4 months from the date you apply for this open work permit.

2.You were in Canada as of January 27, 2021, when the public policy took effect, and have stayed in Canada since then.

3.You either

  • have temporary resident status (this could be from having a valid PGWP, visitor record, or another permit that allows you to stay in Canada), or

  • lost your temporary resident status, but you’ve already applied to restore it, or

  • lost your temporary resident status, but you’ll apply to restore it at the same time as you apply for this open work permit

4.You indicate that you’re applying for an open work permit under the new public policy.

5.You have a valid passport that is not expiring soon.

  • The work permit will be issued for up to 18 months from the date of approval or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

If you meet these requirements then applying for this extension will provide you with the stability that you need to stay and work in Canada for up to an additional 18 months. For many individuals who were on a 1 year work permit this will give you sufficient time to get one year of Canadian experience. For those of you who were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, this will provide you with some make up time to obtain one year of Canadian experience so that you qualify for the Canadian Experience Class of Express Entry.

This may be a one time opportunity so if you are in this position we recommend applying for this extension.

If you require assistance with your post-graduate work permit extension or would like to learn more about the Post Graduate Open Work Permit program, contact us at or visit


About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a 6th-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

How Can We Help?

We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with an expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications.

Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.


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