I want to study in Canada but am not sure about becoming a Canadian permanent resident after graduation.
I want to work in Canada after graduating from a Canadian university but without immediately opting for permanent residence.
I want to work in Canada first and then consider PR options after I get some experience.
Multiple Canada PR Options for International Graduates
Canada loves international students and wants these young and skilled individuals to become permanent residents as quickly as possible. This is why there are so many programs and streams for permanent residence for international students.
You get Express Entry CRS points for your Canadian degree. If you have worked for at least one year during your studies, then you can easily qualify for FSWP and become a permanent resident immediately after graduation.
If you have a startup idea and if your idea is good enough to convince Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors or Business Incubators to back you with funding, then you can become a permanent resident through the Startup Visa as well.
And then there are so many PNP streams for International Graduates and International Graduate entrepreneurs.
- 4 Common Reasons for Canada Study Permit Rejection and How an Immigration Consultant Can Help
- Choose Smartly when Immigrating to Canada—Choose Professional Immigration Assistance
- To Stay or Leave after Graduation—the X-Factor Question for All International Students in Canada
The Atlantic Immigration program too has a stream for international graduates who have studied in one of the four Atlantic provinces.
There’s no doubt you have great options if you are an international graduate seeking permanent residence in Canada. But what if you don’t want PR? What if you just want to work in Canada?
After Graduation—Work Permit Options for International Students
Do international graduates enjoy any special benefit or advantage over others when it comes to a work permit in Canada?
Yes! If you have studied in Canada, then there’s a great work permit option available to you that is not available to other skilled workers who don’t have a Canadian degree.
Post-Graduation Work Permit
The PGWP is an open work permit that is available to every international graduate who has completed a course or study program of duration of eight months or more from a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.
Your PGWP validity will be same as the duration of your study course up to a period of three years.
So, if you studied in Canada for four years in a DLI and if you fulfill all the eligibility requirements of the PGWP, then you can get a three-year open work permit after the completion of your studies.
Advantages of the PGWP Option
The PGWP is a work permit, which means it is a short-term non-immigration permit that does not give you permanent residence. This means you can work for up to three years, gain Canadian work experience, and then take a call about settling in Canada.
Another significant advantage of this work permit is that is an open work permit, which means you are not tied down to a specific employer. This can be very useful when exploring job opportunities just after graduating.
You can move on to a better job offer without worrying about applying for a work permit all over again.
Finally, the PGWP does not require your employer to apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment. This is an expensive and time-consuming process where the employer has to justify why hiring a foreign worker is so essential and how there are no qualified native Canadians for the position.
The employer can avoid this process completely and yet enjoy the advantage of hiring a foreign worker who has studied and graduated from Canada.
While not the preferred option, there is nothing stopping you from applying for a closed i.e. employer-specific work permit under the Temporary Foreign Worker program. This may be the only viable work permit option if you don’t qualify for the PGWP.
A positive LMIA is mandatory but a combination of excellent grades and professional networking during your student days can help you find an employer who is ready to complete the formalities necessary to hire a skilled worker like you.
As you can see, it is not necessary to take a call on permanent residence in Canada just after graduation. There are multiple options if you need more time for this decision. Conversely, there are good options for direct PR or permanent residence after working in Canada if you are totally clear about working and settling in Canada by the time you complete your studies.