What to do after finishing your study program in Canada as an international student? | AJV Global

What to do after finishing your study program in Canada as an international student?

by AJV Global
Published on: 14/Jan/2022
Most students migrate to Canada for world-class education and to live permanently. This article explores the stay-back options for an international student in Canada.


Now that you have completed your study program, surely you wish to work, gain Canadian work experience or even live permanently in Canada. This work experience may help you qualify for certain permanent residence programmes. As per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a valid work permit is required to work in Canada after graduation. Let’s discuss in detail more about your stay-back opportunities.

The top three stay back options in Canada after studies

After you graduate from your program of studies, you may be able to work temporarily or even live permanently in Canada. The option to study further is also available. Let’s discuss in detail each of the three stay-back options in Canada after you complete your studies here.

Option A: Work in Canada after you graduate

After you graduate from your program of studies, you can start working with a post-graduation work permit. As per IRCC, a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) allows you to remain in Canada and work full time after you complete the prescribed study program. It can be a certificate, diploma or degree of 8 months or more. 

Post-graduation work permit (PGWP)

Depending on the length of your study program, the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) can be  8 months to 3 years. If your program was at least 8 months, but less than 2 years, your PGWP will be of the same length as your study program. It is only obtainable once in your lifetime. A job offer is not required to apply for this work permit.

PGWP Application Fee: CA$255

Processing Time:113 Days 

Finding a job in Canada 

There are many job opportunities in Canada. However, finding a job can be challenging. Remember to:

  • Research: You should research what skills, qualifications and experience are needed. 

  • Observe: The work culture in Canada is different from that of your home country. Hence, it is important to observe and adapt to the Canadian work culture.

  • Network: All jobs are not advertised. So, it’s important to build a professional network in order to find jobs through the people you know. 

  • Prepare: An effective resume is an important tool to get shortlisted. Few employers even ask for a cover letter. Ensure all your documents are in place and in English.

  • Social Insurance Number (SIN): To work in Canada, you’ll need a SIN. Apply for a SIN as soon as you come to Canada.

  • Be persistent

Use the available resources

There are many government agencies that support job seekers in Canada. Many local settlement service provider organizations provide workshops and support to help you find a job. Take the time to create a profile on one of these important job search sites:

Job Bank

Immigrant-serving organizations

Service Canada

Your province or territory’s website

Canada’s top 100 employers

Soft skills in the Canadian workplace

Take advantage of all the resources available to you in your community and keep networking. Besides hard or technical skills, Canadian employers look for soft skills. Important soft skills include:

  • Communication

  • Problem-solving

  • Positive attitudes and behaviors

  • Adaptability

  • Teamwork

Tip: Networking is the fastest and easiest way to look for jobs. So, connect with people online. 

Option B: Extend your studies

PGWPs can only be obtained once in a lifetime. While having both a PGWP and a study permit is permissible, if you intend to continue studying in Canada, you should apply after you have completed your second programme to make the most of your work permit. If both programmes are eligible for the PGWP, you can apply based on the length of both, as long as the second programme is completed within two years of the first. Before your study permission expires, you must extend it. If you're waiting for a letter of acceptance for your next programme and need help with your timeline, contact the student support department at your college or university. It's possible that you'll be able to keep your status and work off-campus between programmes.

Option C: Live permanently in Canada

You may also consider settling in Canada through various available paths to permanent residency and immigration. Depending on the type of higher education study you complete, programs could be available to help you become a permanent resident in Canada after you earn your credential. Immigration programs are offered by the province and federal government. One of the most popular path amongst all international students is the Canadian Experience Class program.

Canadian Experience Class

Yes, you may be eligible to apply for permanent resident status through the Canadian Experience Class program if you have at least 1 year of skilled work experience in Canada, in the last 3 years before you apply. The Canadian Experience Class is for skilled workers who have Canadian work experience and want to become permanent residents. Apply for other types of work permits

Other Immigration programs

You may still be able to work in Canada after graduation even if you are not eligible for a PGWP. Apart from that, there are a number of additional options for obtaining a Permanent Residency in Canada, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Provincial Nominee Program, Quebec Skilled Worker, and Quebec Experience Class (QEC). Your Canadian education will improve your rank in the Express Entry pool for immigration purposes by boosting your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores.

Graduating from a Canadian university or college opens up so many avenues to live and settle in Canada. This is the most immigration-friendly nation in the world offering plenty of immigration options. Explore all options, compare them and have an accurate evaluation done for your profile to understand what will be your best option to work or live permanently in Canada. With so many stay-back and immigration options available, you will definitely find the one that’s best suited for you. All the best!

Partner / Author: AJV Global

AJV Global is a New Zealand based ENZ-recognized company. We are an end-to-end education & migration company, with a highly qualified team of advisers licensed by the New Zealand Immigration Advisers Authority and former immigration officers.

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