For Many International Students the Path to Becoming a Permanent Resident of Canada Begins with a Post Graduate Work Permit

Many international students are graduating from post-secondary school programs in Canada this month and wondering how to become a Permanent Resident of Canada.  For most, the best way is a two step process which involves obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit to get Canadian work experience that will qualify them to apply to become a Permanent Resident under the Experience Class category.   The following is a summary of the application process with links on how to obtain more information and necessary documents.

We recommend you refer to the website for up-to-date information, as the process and forms may change from time to time.

A. Permanent Resident Application under Experience Class


See  for requirements.  Education – 2 years public post-secondary educational institution, Work – at least 1 year

To get necessary work experience, need to apply for Post-Graduation Work Permit, which is valid for up to 3 years with no restriction on location or type of work.  To ensure that they are eligible to stay permanently under the Canadian Experience Class, at least one year of work experience under the three-year permit would need to be at Skill Type 0, or Skill Level A (professional applications) or B (technical occupations and skilled trades) under NOC (see The work experience would need to be obtained within two years of the application.

NOC Skill level criteria – See:

Skill level A – University degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate)

Skill level B – 2 or 3 year post-secondary at college or institute of technology

Skill type 0 – Management occupations

Language abilities

Applicants with managerial or professional experience (Skill Type 0 or Skill Level A) would have to demonstrate moderate skills in either English or French. If the work experience was classified at Skill Level B, applicants would have to prove basic language skills. Moderate language skills means the applicant can communicate comfortably in familiar social and work situations. Basic language skills means the applicant can communicate in predictable contexts and on familiar topics, but with some difficulty.

Who would not qualify

Applicants would not meet the minimum requirements if:

  • their work experience in Canada is not classified as 0, A or B under the NOC list; or
  • their work experience is less than one year; or
  • they have not demonstrated moderate or basic language skills, depending on their skill level; or
  • their Canadian post-secondary program of study was shorter than two academic years; or
  • in the case of a one-year master’s or certificate program, the sum of their Canadian education is less than two years; or
  • they do not have temporary resident status in Canada at the time of their application.


All applicants would have to have temporary resident status in Canada at the time of their application for the Canadian Experience Class. They would initiate their application by mailing it to CIC’s visa office in Buffalo, New York. This visa office is dedicated to temporary residents who have been in Canada for at least one year. If accepted, they could be granted permanent residence from within Canada at a local CIC office or at the closest border crossing.

B.           Post-Graduation Work Permit

Application Process – See:

Eligibility for Permit – See: Must apply within 90 days of receiving written confirmation from school that you met requirements for graduation and must apply before Study Permit expires.

Note not eligible if you:

  • study in a program that is less than eight months long
  • participate in a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
  • participate in a Government of Canada Awards Program funded by DFAIT
  • receive funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
  • participate in the Equal Opportunity Scholarship, Canada-Chile
  • participate in the Canada-China Scholars Exchanges Program
  • participate in the Organization of American States Fellowships Program
  • participate in a distance learning program either from abroad or from within Canada or
  • have previously been issued a Post-Graduation Work Permit following any other program of study.

Application and Checklist info see: Need to include:

  • Application to Change Conditions, Extend My Stay or Remain in Canada as a Worker (IMM 5710)
  • Completed Document Checklist (IMM 5583)
  • Photocopies of passport
  • final transcript, letter from institution, formal notification of graduation

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