Work Permits

After you graduate, you can continue working if you are eligible for a post-graduate work permit. There are many Cape Breton employers who can benefit from the pool of international students. You can retain the employment you had while working as an international student, or seek other opportunities around the Island.

Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) eligibility

Applicants can receive only 1 post-graduation work permit in their lifetime.

You can apply for a PGWP if:

  • your study permit is still valid
  • you have a valid visitor record
  • you submitted an application to extend your study permit before it expired and no decision has been made on your application
  • you submitted an application to change your status to visitor before your study permit expired and no decision has been made on your application

You must also have

  • completed a study program 
    • at a designated learning institution
    • that was at least 8 months long and
    • that led to a degree, diploma or certificate
  • maintained full-time status as a student in Canada during each semester of your study program 
    • this doesn’t include your final semester, which can be part-time, or if you took an approved leave from your studies
  • graduated from 1 of the following: 
    • a public post-secondary school, such as a college, trade/technical school, university or CEGEP (in Quebec)
    • a private post-secondary school (in Quebec) that operates under the same rules as public schools in Quebec
    • a private secondary or post-secondary school (in Quebec) that offers qualifying programs of 900 hours or longer, that leads to a diplôme d’études professionnelles (DEP) or an attestation de spécialisation professionnelle (ASP)
    • a Canadian private school that can award degrees under provincial law (for example, Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctorate degree), but only if you’re enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province

Click here for more information.

Designated Learning Institutions

Only DLIs are eligible for students to get study permits. There is a list of DLIs available on IRCC. This list also outlines if the institution offers PGWP-eligible programs (8 months or longer). It is important to note, however, that just because the institution offers PGWP-eligible programs, does not mean that all of their programs will make you eligible. 

Click here for more information.

How to apply

You have up to 180 days to apply for a post-graduate work permit. If you intend to continue working after your studies, it is encouraged that you apply as soon as you complete your studies. 

Before you can apply, you need: 

  • An official letter from your school that confirms you’ve completed your study program
  • An official transcript, or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website

Get full instructions here.

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Last Modified: September 22, 2021