Staying in Canada after graduation

If you’re an international student looking to transform your temporary stay in Canada into a permanent one, you’re not alone.

Here’s a simplified breakdown of different ways to do so.


Almost all provinces or territories operate a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to help people immigrate to their particular region. First, apply to your desired province or territory, and if nominated, you can then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to apply for PR.

Each province has its own criteria and requirements. For BC, your skill set needs to meet the needs of BC’s labour market, so most categories require a valid job offer from a BC employer.

Alternatively, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) under the Express Entry system invites those with at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada (excluding co-op placements) and a competitive Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to apply for PR.

Other than Canadian work experience, you can get points for various factors such as holding a certificate, diploma or degree from a Canadian institution and official language (English and French) proficiencies.

Many UBC grads aren’t eligible for PR immediately after graduating, so you may want to apply for a Canadian Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), which enables individuals to remain and work in any field anywhere in the country between eight months and three years after their program of study. A job offer is not required to apply for the PGWP. Apply only after your Letter of Completion becomes available, but before its been 180 days (about 6 months) after graduation.


To be eligible for Canadian citizenship, you must have PR status in Canada. You also must have lived in Canada for a minimum of three years out of the last five, have filed your taxes, pass a citizenship test and prove your English or French language skills. The entire process takes an average of 18 months from the application to the citizenship ceremony.


Drop by the International Student Advising office located in the Life Building for further clarifications and next steps about settling in Canada.