How to get Permanent Residence in Canada after your studies

For most international students, a big question will always be how to get Permanent residence in Canada after your studies. The good news is that as an international student, there exist a lot of Canadian Immigration Programs to help you achieve this feat.

Get Permanent Residence in Canada after your studies

If you are an international student who has successfully integrated into the Canadian society and possesses well-sought-after skills, Canada wants you to migrate permanently. They exist in Canada with several Immigration programs and Provincial Nominee programs offering bonus points for candidates who studied and graduated in Canada.

Many of the Immigration Programs are designed to give certain privileges to applicants with ties to Canada, either a Canadian education, work experience, or ties to a specific province.

Please note that as an international student who hopes to one day pursue Permanent Residence in Canada, you must adhere to the conditions set out in your study permit throughout your stay in Canada.

This guide will consider a few options to enable you to obtain Canadian Permanent Residence after graduation.

Existing Immigration Programs for International Students

Many immigration programs exist for international students, and each has specific requirements that extend beyond completing your studies in Canada. We will take a look at the programs listed below with particular attention to helping International students become Canadian permanent residents:

  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Quebec Immigration Options
  • Post-Graduation Work Permits

These programs are majorly operated through Canada’s Express Entry system, designed to handle permanent resident applications at a federal scale.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program has its operational base under the Express Entry immigration system. It is one of the quickest ways to get a Canadian permanent residence. One of the major requirements under this program is that applicants must prove they have obtained at least 12- months of continuous, full-time skilled work experience in Canada. This period must be in the preceding three years or an equivalent amount of part-time experience.

Also, under this program, age, level of education, and language proficiency are other requirements considered. Another necessary condition under this program is that whatever work experience you gained during your study will not count as work experience. The good news is that once international students graduate, they become eligible for a post-graduation work permit; armed with this, students can gain the requisite work experience to qualify for CEC.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

Much like the CEC, this program operates through the Express Entry immigration system. The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program may be an option for some international student graduates, especially those who may not have the required Canadian work experience at the time. This program, unlike the CEC, takes into cognizance the already-gained skilled experience of international students abroad, i.e., from their home countries.

The FSW program grades applicants on merit. The program uses a  points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to rank candidates against one another. Invitations are sent to the students with the most competitive profiles to apply for Permanent Residence under the program. This is an excellent pathway to becoming a permanent resident for international students with impressive skilled work experience in their home countries. Thus, for international students who have never been in the workforce, this is not the program for you.

Provincial Nominee Programs

In Canada, provinces and territories operate different immigration programs known as Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Each PNP is explicitly designed to meet the needs of each province or territory, meaning they each work differently. Generally, provinces will give specific preferences to candidates with proven links and connections to their province. This could be ties such as work experiences gained or studies completed. A student’s eligibility for a PNP will depend mainly on their ties to that province- study ties, perhaps?

Quebec Immigration Options

In Quebec, the province runs its immigration system. The Quebec Immigration system follows a system different from the rest of the country. The Quebec system, however, is also designed to accord certain advantages to international students who meet the stipulated requirements. The Quebec permanent Residence scheme has two main streams open to international students:

Quebec Experience Program (PEQ):

Under this program, Quebec requires the international student to have completed their program of study within an institution in Quebec or within 6 months of completing the same. Also, please note that such a student must demonstrate an advanced intermediate level of oral French.

Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW):

One of the perks of this program for an international student is that it does not require mandatory French proficiency. This program can be a pathway for students in Quebec who are about to or have fully completed an educational credential in Quebec.

While there is no mandatory French proficiency attainment, candidates must meet the minimum score on the program’s points assessment grid.

Post-Graduation Work Permits

The post-graduation work permit, although not a direct permanent residence program, allows international students who have graduated from a DLI to stay back in Canada and carry on employment after their study period. However, please note that not every program offered at a DLI qualifies for a post-graduation work permit.

The advantage of this program is that the experience garnered can help a person qualify for Canadian Permanent Residence through the CEC or PNP.


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