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As of February 15, 2024, Canada has implemented revisions to its post-graduation work permit program (PGWP). A noteworthy change is that students completing a master’s degree program, even if under two years, can now qualify for a 3-year PGWP, provided they meet all other eligibility criteria.

However, starting from September 1, 2024, students enrolled in curriculum licensing agreement programs will no longer qualify for a PGWP. Additionally, the special measures for distance learning and PGWP validity have been extended until August 31, 2024.

Overview of Post-Graduation Work Permits

A post-graduation work permit is an open work permit granted to foreign students upon finishing their studies in Canada. Holders are allowed to work anywhere in the country for any employer with no hourly restrictions.

The duration of a PGWP is determined by the level and duration of the study program and the passport expiry date, whichever comes first.

Also read: Canada to increase cost-of-living requirement for international students

Canada PGWP Eligibility Criteria

Not all international students automatically qualify for a PGWP; eligibility depends on graduating from a designated learning institution (DLI), approved by a Canadian provincial or territorial government to host international students. The DLI list indicates schools with eligible programs.

Graduates Eligible for a 3-Year PGWP

Graduates of programs lasting at least two years at PGWP-eligible DLIs are eligible for a 3-year PGWP, as are graduates of master’s degree programs less than 2 years in length.

Master’s Degree Program Criteria

  • Programs less than 8 months (or 900 hours for Quebec credentials) are ineligible for a PGWP.
  • Programs at least 8 months (or 900 hours for Quebec credentials) can apply for a 3-year PGWP, meeting all eligibility criteria. This exclusion does not apply to certificate or diploma programs.

Suggested Read: One-year MBA program in Canada: is it worth doing?

PGWP Application Process

Applicants can work in Canada while awaiting PGWP processing if they applied before their student permit expires. The application must be submitted within 180 days of finishing the study program. Applying for a PGWP from abroad is now possible after completing education in Canada.

Recent Changes in Canada for International Students

Recent changes in Canada for international students include an intake cap on international student permit applications for two years, reducing approvals by 35% from 2023 to approximately 360,000 in 2024. This aims to ensure sustainable growth and improve the overall experience for international students.

Four Major Changes Announced

  • Student Cap and Provincial Attestation Letter:
    • New post-secondary international students at the college or undergraduate level must submit a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) with their study permit application.
    • PAL serves as evidence of accommodation within a provincial or territorial allocation under the national cap.
    • Exemptions apply to certain categories, such as primary and secondary school students, master’s or doctoral degree students, visiting or exchange students, and in-Canada study permit and work permit holders.

PGWP Update for Master’s Degree Graduates:

  • Graduates from master’s degree programs lasting less than 2 years, meeting PGWP eligibility criteria, now qualify for a 3-year post-graduation work permit.
  • PGWP Eligibility for Public-Private Partnership College Programs:
    • Changes have been made to limit PGWPs for programs where public colleges licence their curriculum to affiliated private colleges.
    • Current students remain eligible, but new students enrolling in these programs will not be eligible for a PGWP.
  • Changes to Open Work Permit Eligibility for Spouses:
    • Modifications will be made to open work permit eligibility for spouses and common-law partners of international students.
    • Eligibility will be restricted to spouses and common-law partners of students enrolled in graduate and professional degree–granting programs.

Checkout: MBA programs in Canada: top universities, eligibility and fees for Indian students

PGWP Key Changes

1. Extended Duration of PGWP

Canada has expanded the validity of the PGWP, providing international students with an enhanced opportunity to gain Canadian work experience. The updated rules now permit eligible graduates to work for up to three years, contributing to a more robust integration into the Canadian workforce.

2. Streamlined Application Process

The Canadian government has introduced a more efficient application process for the PGWP, aiming to reduce processing times. International students can now anticipate quicker approval, facilitating a smoother transition from academic studies to the professional realm.

3. Inclusion of Online Learning Periods

Recognizing the impact of the digital age, Canada now considers online learning periods as eligible for the PGWP. This alteration caters to the evolving landscape of education, ensuring that graduates from online programs receive equitable opportunities in the Canadian job market.

4. Dual Benefits for Bilingual Graduates

Canada places a high value on linguistic diversity. In a bid to encourage bilingualism, the government now offers a unique advantage to graduates proficient in both English and French. Such individuals may be eligible for an extended PGWP duration, amplifying their chances of securing meaningful employment.

How Does This Compare to Previous Rules?

To comprehend the magnitude of these changes, let’s compare the current regulations with the previous ones:

Aspect Previous Rules New Rules
PGWP Duration Up to two years Up to three years
Online Learning Not considered Recognized and eligible
Bilingual Advantage No specific provision Extended permit duration for bilingual graduates
Application Processing Time Varied Streamlined and expedited

These changes aim to ensure sustainable growth in Canada’s international student program, maintain system integrity, and enhance the overall experience for international students.

Find out: Cost of studying in Canada for International students


Canada’s recent adjustments to the Post-Graduation Work Permit mark a significant stride in fostering an inclusive environment for international students. As you plan your post-graduate journey, staying abreast of these changes ensures you make informed decisions that align with the evolving landscape of Canadian immigration policies.

To know more about studying in Canada and other countries, get on a call with our expert counsellor. Join the prestigious list of Jamboree’s 200,000+ successful students. Book your free call here!

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