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What is a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

A Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) is an open work permit that allows students who have graduated from an eligible Designated Learning Institution (VCC's DLI number is O19279717512) to work full time in Canada and gain valuable Canadian work experience. A PGWP is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Students completing a second certificate or diploma or completing a degree may decide to wait until after completing the full period of study before applying for the PGWP.


Who Can Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit?

International students who graduate from VCC may be eligible to apply for a PGWP if they meet all PGWP eligibility criteria, provided they:

  • Had a study permit that has been valid within the last 180 days or maintained status in Canada
  • Have completed a full-time program of study at VCC that was at least 8 months long, and that led to a Certificate, Diploma or Degree, and
  • Have maintained full-time academic status as an international student in Canada, with the exception of scheduled breaks, authorized leave, and the final academic term
  • Have studied at least 50% of their program in-person inside Canada (an exception to the COVID-19 measure to study online until August 31, 2022) 


Length of a Post-Graduation Work Permit

The length of a post-graduation work permit will vary from a minimum of 8 months to a maximum of 3 years, depending on the length of your program(s) of studies in Canada. 

Please note that international students must meet all PGWP eligibility criteria to obtain a PGWP. PGWP approval is up to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s discretion.

For a complete understanding of PGWP length, please visit Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) validity and application.

Certificate Length PGWP
Administrative Professional  8 months  8 months
Artisan Baking 11 months   11 months  
Asian Culinary  5 months  
Esthetics and Spa Therapy  10 months   10 months  
Hairstylist 10 months 10 months
Legal Administrative Assistant 5 months  -
Medical Office Assistant 6 months  -
Pastry 11 months  11 months 
Dual Certificates Length PGWP
Baking and Pastry Arts 2 years 3 years
Diploma Length PGWP
Accounting 2 years 3 years
Automotive Collision and Refinishing 2 years 3 years
Automotive Parts and Services Technology 2 years 3 years
Automotive Service Technology 2 years 3 years
CAD & BIM Technician 2 years 3 years
Computer Systems Technology 2.5 years 3 years
Cosmetology 2 years 3 years
Culinary Arts 2 years 3 years
Dance 2 years 3 years
Dental Technology Sciences 2.5 years 3 years
Early Childhood Care and Education 2 years 3 years
Electronics Repair Technology 2 years 3 years
Fashion Design and Production 2 years 3 years
Graphic Design 2 years 3 years
Health Care Assistant 2 years 3 years
Heavy Mechanical Technology Diploma 2 years 3 years
Hospitality Management 2 years 3 years
Jewellery Art and Design 2 years 3 years
Marketing Technology 2 years 3 years
Music 2 years 3 years
Optician 2 years (16 months of accelerated study) 3 years
Associate's Degree Length PGWP
Associate of Science (Computer Science Pathway) 2 years 3 years
Bachelor's Degree Length PGWP
Bachelor of Applied Music 2 years 3 years
Bachelor of Hospitality Management 2 years 3 years
Post-Degree Diploma Length PGWP
Business and Project Management 2 years 3 years
Business Management 2 years 3 years
Hospitality Management 2 years 3 years
Network Technology, Administration and Security 2 years 3 years

*The University Transfer Certificate programs do not guarantee a PGWP as they may not guarantee full-time academic status. If you have further questions, please email

For information about each program, please visit our VCC International Student Info Guide and the program pages.


VCC Documents, Graduation, and Application Timeline

You will need the following documents from VCC to apply for your PGWP:

  • VCC Program Completion Letter (graduation letter)
  • VCC Electronic Transcript (with confirmation of graduation)

As a VCC international student, you are responsible for ensuring you don’t have any holds on your student account to allow this process to happen; otherwise, you will not receive your Program Completion Letter.

Program Completion Letter and Electronic Transcript

Once you have successfully completed your program and all of your grades have been entered by your instructors, the graduation audit will begin. Please note that this can take up to 6 weeks to complete. If you are eligible to graduate, you will be awarded the credential, and automatically receive your Program Completion letter and your Electronic Transcript by email from You can use both documents to submit your PGWP application.


VCC Official Transcript

You can use your Electronic Transcript for your PGWP application. You don’t need to use the Official Transcript. However, if you want an Official Transcript for your records, you can request it online through your myVCC account.

The Registrar’s Office will issue the Official Transcript. You can visit the Records Office page to understand the alternatives for requesting your VCC Official Transcript and payment options. 

To receive your VCC official transcripts and final awarded credentials by mail, you must ensure your local address is up to date on your myVCC student account portal. Check the tutorial on How to Update your Contact Information Online and ensure you update your address before graduation.





International students have up to 180 days to apply for a PGWP after graduation. However, it is highly recommended to apply for a PGWP within 90 days, with a valid study permit, as you may be eligible to work full time after submitting your PGWP application.

A study permit is usually valid for the length of your program of studies, plus an extra 90 days. A study permit becomes invalid in two ways:

  • Based on the expiry date written on the study permit, OR
  • 90 days after written confirmation of program completion (PGWP Letter)

Don’t let your study permit expire while you wait for your final marks and graduation. Ensure you have a valid study permit to cover your graduation waiting period. IRCC usually gives international students a study permit to cover the length of their study program, plus 90 days.

If you apply for a PGWP without a valid study permit, you won’t be able to start working until IRCC processes and approves your PGWP application. If your study permit expires, you have up to 90 days to apply for a PGWP and restore your status as a student.



Working Before and After you apply for a PGWP

You can only apply for a PGWP once your VCC Program Completion Letter (graduation letter) and your Electronic Transcript becomes available.

  1. Before you receive your Program Completion Letter, you are still considered a VCC international student. You may be able to work on-campus and work off-campus as long as you have had work eligibility while studying and you have a valid study permit.
  2. Once you receive your Program Completion Letter, you must stop working immediately. You are no longer authorized to continue to work in Canada, as you no longer meet the eligibility criteria as a study permit holder under paragraph R186(v).
  3. After you receive your Program Completion Letter and submit your PGWP application within 90 days, you may be able to start working full time if you meet all the eligibility criteria:

If you apply for a PGWP with a valid study permit, and your study permit becomes invalid while your PGWP application is being processed, you still retain the right to work in Canada under paragraph R186(w).

If your employer requires proof of your work eligibility while you wait for your PGWP to be processed, you may provide a copy of all documents listed on the IRCC website to show a potential employer you’re allowed to work. The list would include a copy of the acknowledgement of receipt from your PGWP application (if you applied online).


How to Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit

International students can apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from inside or outside Canada. However, international students have up to 180 days after graduation to apply for a PGWP.

VCC International students are encouraged to apply for a PGWP within 90 days of graduation with a valid study permit. By doing that, they may be eligible to work full-time after the PGWP application submission.

Once you apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, the online system will ask you if you “are you a full-time student at a participating post-secondary institution and want to work off-campus up to 20 hours per week?”. Once you indicate “Yes” to this question, the system will understand that you have graduated and you want to apply for a PGWP.

After answering all the questions from the online wizard, you will be provided with a personalized document checklist. The checklist will require you to upload the “Completion of Studies Letter” and “Recent Education Transcript”. Please upload your VCC Program Completion Letter (graduation letter) and VCC Electronic Transcript (with confirmation of graduation) accordingly.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a pdf letter in your IRCC secure account to indicate that the original document will be mailed to your provided address. Make sure your address is correct once submitting your application.

Please review the following documents for instructions on how to submit a post-graduation work permit application online from inside Canada:

You may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit from outside Canada:

We encourage you to review Guide 5487 - Applying for a Work Permit Outside Canada for instructions.

If you apply on paper, read the instruction guide based on the country you are submitting your PGWP application from. Once you select the country from where you are submitting your application, the system will generate a list of documents and forms you need to submit. Submit your completed application with all required documents and the fee receipt to the address given in the application package.



Important Considerations

Review the following important considerations related to the post-graduation work permit.

The spouse of an international student who graduated from a designated learning institution and is eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit may be eligible for an open work permit.


Your spouse may be eligible for an open work permit if you (as the main applicant) are a skilled worker in one occupation under the Training, Education, Experience and Responsibilities (TEER) type 0, 1, 2 or 3 and approved to work in Canada for six months or longer. Your family member will need to complete their own application forms. However, you may submit your applications together if meeting the eligibility criteria.


IRCC Temporary Policy: On December 2, 2022, IRCC released a temporary policy in effect as of January 2023 through a temporary 2-year measure expanding the occupation requirement to all TEER skill levels. This new temporary policy also expands the eligibility to allow working-aged children to obtain a work permit.


As a PGWP holder, to support your spouse's or working-aged children open work permit application, you may need to provide the following:

  • a copy of your PGWP valid for a period of at least 6 months, and
  • a letter from your current employer, or a copy of your employment offer or contract that confirms that you work under any TEER skill levels occupation (temporary policy), and
  • a copy of your three most recent payslips (You may be employed part-time. Although there is not a standard minimum of hours required, IRCC officers have to be satisfied that your employment or funds will be sufficient to support yourself and your family members while in Canada financially), and
  • evidence that you are or plan to reside in Canada while employed (be fiscally in Canada)
  • evidence of the genuine relationship with the spouse or common-law partner


Please note that your spouse's or working-aged children open work permit won't be valid longer than your Post-Graduation Work Permit. Your eligible dependents must also meet the general eligibility requirements for a work permit.


If your post-graduation work permit expired or will expire from September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, you may have the opportunity to work in Canada for an additional 18 months by either extending your work permit or applying for a new one. Please visit How to get an open work permit for some current and former post-graduation work permit holders to check your eligibility. These measures will affect individual applicants in different ways. If you are required to submit a new open work permit application, you must submit it by December 31, 2022.

To learn more about this new temporary public policy, please visit the following IRCC pages:

Next Steps

Review your post-graduation work permit to ensure all your information is correct. It is recommended that you make a copy of it and store the original in a safe place. 

Renew your Social Insurance Number (SIN).

Renew your Medical Services Plan (MSP).

Apply for a new Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to re-enter Canada (if applicable).

Visit the VCC Career Guidance page to help you prepare your Resume and Cover Letter.



The content on this page reflects the information available at the time of its publication. It is important to acknowledge that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and other government departments regularly revise their policies. For the latest information, please visit Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.

Latest Updated: 18-December-2023