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Post-Graduation Work Permit Program — Everything You Need to Know

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program by the Canadian government got some significant temporary changes in its requirements during the pandemic. These changes have proved to be highly beneficial for international students. In this brief, we will discuss what the PGWP program is and what temporary changes have been made to facilitate international students.

What is the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program?

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, or PGWP, is a work permit program designed for international students. With this program, students who have graduated from an eligible designated learning institute can acquire an open work permit. This way, they can gain work experience in Canada, which can be very valuable.

This experience can be very helpful for working towards a permanent residency in Canada. Thanks to its accessible nature, the PGWP program has become a vital step towards immigration to Canada for many students around the world.

What is Distance Learning?

Distance Learning is a feature available to international students for working toward the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Normally any distance learning course a student does while outside Canada is not included in the accumulated time for the length of the PGWP program.

There is also the requirement for the student to complete 50% of the course in person while being in Canada. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, temporary changes have been made to these requirements. These exceptions are:

Full Facilitation Measures

The Canadian government made special temporary concessions for students who:

  • Applied in any program that is PGWP eligible in March 2020

  • Started a study program that is PFQP eligible between March 2020 and August 31, 2022

Students who fit these requirements were allowed to complete 100% of their program online from outside Canada. The time these students spend studying outside of Canada is allowed to be counted toward the PGWPP’s overall length. However, this is only valid until August 31, 2023. This way, students who met these requirements did not have to do 50% of their program completion in Canada and in person.

Reduced Facilitation Measures

Now that the pandemic restrictions are lifted, the Canadian government has made some new temporary changes to the requirements for the PGWP program. The students who have started or will be starting a study program from September 1, 2022, to August 31, 2023, must complete 50% of their study program in Canada. The good news is that their time spent studying outside of Canada is counted towards the PGWP program’s overall length. However, the time spent studying outside of Canada needs to be less than 50% of the study program.

Changes to Document Submission Requirements

The Canadian government has also made some changes to the document submission requirements for the PGWP program. Students don't need to submit a letter of completion alongside their application. This is because many students cannot get their letter of completion from the DLI because of the pandemic. However, the document will be requested later when the application is being processed by the IRCC.

Final Thoughts

These new temporary changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program have proven to be a lifesaver for international students. These steps have been taken by the Canadian government so the student’s prospects are not negatively affected by the pandemic. The PGWP program is still a great way for students to gain highly valuable work experience in Canada. It is a stepping stone for students to work towards permanent residence or immigration to Canada.


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 fifth-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 contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with 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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