Canada: 5 pathways for international students to stay after graduation 

Canada provides comprehensive options for international graduates to work, stay, and potentially transition to permanent residency.

As graduating from a university in Canada is a significant milestone for international students, exploring the options to remain in the country post-graduation can seem daunting, yet it presents an exciting opportunity.

Evaluating your choices should therefore be based on your career aspirations, study duration, and readiness to navigate the immigration process.

Canada’s diverse opportunities offer a promising start to your post-graduation life.

Here, we explore five essential pathways to stay in Canada after your studies:

Obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The PGWP is a popular route for many international graduates, allowing up to three years of valuable Canadian work experience, depending on the length of your academic program.

You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) and want to stay in Canada temporarily to work. Graduation from a DLI doesn’t automatically make you eligible for a PGWP.

Here are the program criteria for eligibility for a PGWP

  • Programs under 8 months: Ineligible
  • Programs of 2 years or more: Eligible for a PGWP up to 3 years

Application Window: Must apply within 180 days of receiving your final grades and official completion letter from your institution.

In Case of Delay: If awaiting your transcript and your study permit expires, apply for a visitor record to legally stay in Canada.

Extend with a Visitor Record

A visitor record can be useful if there are delays in receiving your transcript or your study permit expires before your PGWP decision.

While it doesn’t permit employment, it extends your stay:

  • Application Timing: Apply at least 30 days before your study permit expires. Use this as a temporary measure while you sort out your next steps in Canada.

Exploring Other Work Permits

Canada offers several work permit programs to help bolster your application for permanent residency:

Pursue Further Studies

If further academic pursuit calls you, consider enrolling in additional programs, be it a second undergraduate degree, a graduate program or a diploma in a different field.

Things to note:

  • Cost of Living Requirement: As of January 2024, increased to $20,635 for single students.
  • Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) is required for additional undergraduate degrees or college programs.
  • PGWP Eligibility: Postgraduate students are exempt from needing a PAL and may qualify for a PGWP even if the program duration is under two years.

Transition to Permanent Residency

Transforming your temporary stay into permanent residency is achievable with Canadian education and work experience.

Programs like the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) under Express Entry facilitate this transition for those with Canadian work experience.

These pathways not only provide opportunities to enhance your career in Canada but also pave the way for a potential permanent stay in the country.


Back to top button