Pathways to Permanent Residence

Education is a popular pathway to getting a permanent residence in Canada, and here’s why:

  • If you have worked and studied in Canada, you can receive up to 100 additional points in Express Entry, which is enough to be eligible for the Canadian Experience Class program
  • While you study in Canada, your spouse can get a work permit and gain work experience in the country
  • It will be easier to find a job in this country after you graduate from a Canadian college or university

In most cases, to be able to stay in Canada after graduation, you need to gain work experience first. A post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will allow you to work temporarily in Canada. It may be issued based on the length of the study program for a minimum of 8 months up to a maximum of 3 years (winter and summer breaks should be included in the time).

To obtain a PGWP, you must meet all of these criteria:

  • To have completed a minimum 8-months program at an eligible institution in Canada. Keep in mind that not all schools make you eligible for the PGWP. You can check the list of designated institutions on website
  • To have a degree, diploma or certificate from this institution
  • To have maintained full-time student status in Canada during the whole period of study

Within 180 days of the date of applying for the PGWP, you must also hold a valid study permit or to be authorized to study in Canada without the requirement to obtain a study permit.

You can apply for a PGWP on website. And by doing so, you will be required to pay:

  • Processing fee: C$155
  • Open work permit holder: C$100
  • Biometrics: C$85

After having worked in Canada for at least one year, you can apply for permanent residence under one of the federal or provincial programs for Canadian universities graduates. Some provinces (including Ontario) provide permanent residence for master’s graduates, without requiring a work contract.

Canadian immigration programs’ main requirements


Work experience Language skills Other requirements
Canadian Experience Class At least 1 year of work experience in NOC 0, A or B* CLB 5 or 7**
Federal Skilled Workers Program At least 1 year of work experience in NOC 0, A or B CLB 7
Federal Skilled Trades At least 2 years of work experience within the last 5 years in NOC B CLB 4 or 5 An offer of full-time employment for at least 1 year or a certificate of qualification
Provincial Nominee Program NOC 0, A, B, C or D — depending on the province Strong English or French skills
Atlantic Immigration Pilot A job offer for an employer in Atlantic Canada that must be NOC skill level 0, A, B, or C and last at least 1 year CLB 4 Graduation from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in Atlantic Canada. The program must have been at least 2 years

* National Occupation Code (NOC) levels: 0 (management jobs), A (professional jobs that usually require a degree from a university), B (technical jobs and skilled trades that usually call for a college diploma or training as an apprentice), C (intermediate jobs that usually require high school or job-specific training), D (labour jobs that usually give on-the-job training)

** CLB is the Canadian Language Benchmark

Finally, after just 3 years of permanent residence in the country, you will be able to apply for Canadian citizenship.

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