One of the benefits many people chose to study in Canada is the opportunity to live in Canada after you complete your program. Most programs in Canada give you the opportunity of getting a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This allows you to be able to stay and work in Canada after graduation from school. However, the PGWP is only for a certain number of years. In this article, we will share some information on how you can stay in Canada beyond your Post-Graduation Work Permit.
As an open work permit, a PGWP allows you to work for any employer anywhere in Canada. However, if you want to apply for Canadian immigration, you may need to to get a job in what is called a “skilled” occupation. Having work experience in a skilled occupation can help you to qualify for Canada’s Express Entry pathway.
Immigration Options Beyond PGWP
Applying to certain immigration programs will qualify you for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which allows you to keep working in Canada if your PGWP expires before you get approved for permanent residence. Below are the immigration options you can explore if you want to stay in Canada beyond your PGWP.
Express Entry is an online system that we Canada uses to manage immigration applications from skilled workers.
There are 3 immigration programs managed through Express Entry:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Federal Skilled Trades Program
To immigrate through Express Entry, you first need to be eligible for one of the three programs above. Once you are in the pool of candidates, you get a score based on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).
You can only apply for immigration after you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from Canada’s immigration department, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). In order to get an ITA, you need to have the minimum amount of CRS points required in a given Express Entry draw. IRCC holds these draws roughly every two weeks, where they invite the top scoring candidates to apply for Canadian immigration.
Provincial Nominee Program
There are two broad categories of PNPs.
- Enhanced PNPs search the Express Entry pool to invite candidates to apply for a provincial nomination. With a provincial nomination, Express Entry candidates get an automatic 600 points toward their overall score. This pushes the candidate to the top of the Express Entry pool, and primes them to receive an ITA in a subsequent draw.
- The second one is the base PNP. This is for people who do not qualify for Express Entry. These programs allow you to apply directly to the province for a provincial nomination. This can then support your application for permanent residence to the federal government. Some of these base PNPs are also available to people whose work experience does not fall under a “skilled” occupation category.
Quebec has its own immigration system. In order to immigrate to Quebec, you need a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), which supports your immigration application to the federal government. If you speak French, studied and worked in Quebec, you may be eligible for the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ). This is a popular option for Quebec PGWP holders. You can apply as an international student, or as a temporary foreign worker.
As an international student, you will need to
- meet certain eligibility criteria for your education,
- prove your French language proficiency, and
- demonstrate that you intend to settle in Quebec.
Workers need at least two years of full-time work experience in a skilled occupation, and must be employed at the time of application. They also need to prove their language ability in French. Alternatively, if you speak French and have skilled work experience, you may be able to immigrate to the province through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP).
Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot makes it easier for Canadian employers in the Atlantic to hire foreign talents. You may qualify for this program if you have offer of employment in any of the provinces below:
- Newfoundland and Labrador,
- Prince Edward Island,
- New Brunswick, or
- Nova Scotia.
There are three streams under this program:
- skilled workers stream,
- intermediate skilled workers stream which includes occupations under skill level “C”, and
- graduates stream.
Family Sponsorship Program
If your spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then they may be able to sponsor you to come to Canada. You can apply from within Canada or overseas. If you are applying from within Canada, you may be able to benefit from an open work permit specifically for spouses and common-law partners of Canadians who are going through the immigration process.
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