Can Studying in Canada Lead to Permanent Residence?

Many who come to Canada to study graduate with the hope of staying in Canada permanently. We highlight the most common ways this goal can be achieved.

How Studying in Canada Can Lead to Permanent Residence

Oftentimes, students who come to Canada to study do so with the hopes of someday becoming Canadian permanent residents. Many also study in Canada without this initial intent, but over time decide they would like to work and start a life in Canada. If you are a student in Canada who wishes to become a permanent resident, there are a few pathways you may take toward achieving this status.

Ways to Get Permanent Residence

International graduates may be eligible to obtain Canadian permanent residence through a few different pathways. In certain situations, such as with a Post-Graduation Work Permit or certain Express Entry categories, individuals do not even require a job offer. Within Express Entry, applicants may qualify for Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program. Some of these will require work experience, in which case an applicant should first obtain a PGWP, gain work experience, and apply later. However, others allow recent graduates to apply immediately after graduation if they have the skills desired. One program that allows for immediate permanent residence without work experience is the Quebec Experience Class, for students who have studied in Quebec and meet requirements. Depending on the Provincial Nominee Program, a student may or may not be able to obtain permanent residency immediately.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

One way an international student may stay in Canada and get work experience after graduating is by applying for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). An applicant is not required to have a job offer at the time they apply, and the permit allows international graduates to work for any employer. The length of time a PGWP is valid depends on the length of your study program. If you studied in Canada for:

  • Less than 8 months- you are not eligible
  • More than 8 months but less than 2 years- your PGWP may be valid for a period of time equal to that of your study
  • 2 or more years- the PGWP may be valid for 3 years
  • More than one program- PGWP may be valid up to 3 years

There are a number of requirements an individual must meet in order to qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, including having a valid study permit at the time of application, having all the documentation proving your program completion from a designated learning institution, are 18 and older, and apply within 90 days of your program completion being confirmed.