Are you a recent international graduate exploring options to continue your stay in Canada? Do you want to immigrate permanently? As an international student, you are a welcomed addition and Canada wants to retain you as a skilled worker.
There are several immigration pathways available for international students who want to transition to permanent residence in Canada. Completing a study program in Canada reflects that you are highly educated, likely to be fluent in English or French and have adapted to the Canadian lifestyle.
What are the Options for International Graduates for Permanent Residence?
Here is an overview of the options available to international students and graduates who wish to immigrate to Canada after the completion of their Canadian study programs:
Employer-Specific Work Permit:
This option involves obtaining an employer-specific work permit that allows you to work for a specific employer and gain work experience in Canada. You can eventually apply for permanent residence to the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
This option is viable for you if you are not eligible to apply for permanent residence otherwise or your study program makes you ineligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This option is also viable if you have an employment offer for a longer work duration than the PGWP will be valid for.
Gaining work experience in Canada makes international graduates eligible to apply through the federal Express Entry system to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
Open Work Permit:
An open work permit authorizes you to work anywhere in Canada for any employer. It allows you to switch employers and job positions easily.
International students can apply for a specific type of open work permit known as a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
A PGWP is valid for 3 years and is only for international students whose study program lasts more than 2 years.
This option is perfect for international graduates with a job offer to gain work experience and eventually apply for permanent residence in Canada.
International students can eventually enter the federal Express Entry system and apply for an economic immigration program they are eligible for such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) or the CEC.
Quebec Experience Class (PEQ):
This is a direct pathway for permanent residency for international students who have completed their study programs in Quebec. International students are required to have an eligible degree or diploma obtained from a recognized Quebec university for a study program that lasted at least 2 years.
International students must have resided in Quebec for at least half of their study program and demonstrate language proficiency in French.
International students applying for this program must be over the age of 18 and have temporary residence status in Quebec. They must intend to reside in Quebec after obtaining their permanent residence.
Obtaining permanent residence in Quebec is a 2 step process. Applicants will be required to attain a Quebec Selection Certificate or Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ). A CSQ authorizes you to apply for permanent residence to the federal government.
The most important feature of this program is that it does not require international students to have any sort of prior work experience. Applications to the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) are prioritized by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion (MIDI) resulting in faster processing of your permanent residency application.