Stay in Canada after graduation

New rules for prospective international students are now in effect (as of June 1, 2014).

Read about these changes and how they may impact you.

To work in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP). If you want to stay in Canada as a permanent resident after you graduate, there are a number of programs available, each with its own requirements.

Get a post-graduation work permit

The PGWPP allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Skilled Canadian work experience gained through the PGWPP helps graduates qualify for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

A work permit under the PGWPP may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years. A post-graduation work permit cannot be valid for longer than the student’s study program, and the study program must be a minimum of eight months in length. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree program, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the criteria. If you graduate from an eight-month certificate program, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months.

Determine your eligibility

Find out if you are eligible for a post-graduation work permit.


Follow the steps to apply for the post-graduation work permit.

Immigrate to Canada

Canadian Experience Class

If you are a foreign student who recently graduated in Canada, you likely have the qualities to make a successful transition from temporary to permanent residence. You are familiar with Canadian society and can contribute to the Canadian economy. You should have knowledge of English or French and qualifying work experience.

You may be eligible to apply to stay in Canada permanently under the CEC.

Graduates may also qualify for other immigration programs; the Come to Canada tool is a good resource for those wishing to explore their options to remain in Canada.

PhD eligibility stream—Federal skilled workers

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced a new initiative aimed at boosting Canadian innovation and helping Canada’s educational institutions attract and retain talented scholars at the doctoral level.

As of November 5, 2011, international PhD students who wish to become permanent residents of Canada have been able to submit applications for processing as Federal Skilled Workers. To be eligible under the new stream, which is capped at 1,000 applications per year, applicants must have completed at least two years of study toward the attainment of a PhD and remain in good academic standing at a provincially recognized post-secondary educational institution in Canada. Foreign nationals who have graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the preceding 12 months are also eligible. Note that PhD applicants must also meet all the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. This initiative will help Canada and Canadian universities to attract and retain top talent in a global economy. While PhD holders make up a small proportion of the population, they play a unique and integral role in our nation’s economic health. Doctoral graduates drive research, encourage innovation and pass on their knowledge through teaching.

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