Stay in Canada after Graduation

If you would like to stay in Canada after graduation to gain work experience, the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) enables you to remain in Canada for up to three years after graduation, depending on the length of your study program. Students completing an eligible program of two years or longer at a designated learning institution are eligible for a post-graduation work permit of three years. In order to meet eligibility requirements, you must have:

  • Obtained a degree, diploma or certificate from a designated learning institution
  • Studied full-time & continuously in program that is at least eight months long
  • Applied for a work permit within 180 days of receiving written confirmation that all completion requirements for your academic program are met

If you are not eligible for a PGWP, you may still be able to work in Canada after graduation. For more information look here.

If you are interested in staying in Canada permanently, IRCC has a number of pathways to becoming a permanent resident. You can compare the different pathways to permanent residence at this page. You'll find that the Canadian work experience you can obtain on a PGWP will be beneficial when it comes to applying for permanent residence.

Post-graduation work permit holders living in Alberta may also be eligible to apply to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program pathway. The AAIP is Alberta’s provincial nominee program for permanent residence and has 3 streams that eligible individuals can apply through to be nominated to work and live in Alberta permanently.

A common AAIP stream for Post-graduation work permit holders to apply through is the Alberta Opportunity Stream. Applicants need to meet the language, education and work experience requirements to be eligible to apply


Express Entry is an online system that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) uses to manage immigration applications from skilled workers with work experience in NOC 0, A, or B level jobs

There are 3 immigration programs managed through Express Entry:

Post-graduation work permit holders will commonly apply through Express Entry's Canadian Experience Class as they have the ability to work in Canada and gain the skilled work experience required to apply. 

NOTE: Self-employment and work experience gained while you were a full-time student (even if you were on a co-op work term) doesn’t count towards the minimum requirements for the Canadian Experience Class. 


To find out which Express Entry program you may be eligible for, use the IRCC "Come to Canada- Skilled Immigrant" tool found here