What you need to know before you choose a school

Studying in Canada can give you an edge when you apply for permanent residence. It can also help you become a Canadian citizen faster.

Graduates of Canadian schools have advantages because they usually have:

  • Canadian diplomas, degrees and certificates
  • English or French language skills
  • Canadian work experience
  • Youth

Apply early!

  It can take time to process your application.

Check processing times for the country you’re applying from to see how long it usually takes to process applications.

You can get the most out of your Canadian studies by doing some research first. The choices you make, from the type of program to the region where you study, can make it easier for you to live and work in Canada permanently.

On this page:

Post-graduation work permit eligibility

Some schools offer programs that will make you eligible for a special type of work permit called a post-graduation work permit. A post-graduation work permit is

  • an open work permit that allows you to work for almost any employer in Canada
  • an opportunity for you to get the work experience you need for some of our immigration programs

Check the designated learning institution list to see which schools offer these programs.

Canadian work experience

To immigrate through many of our programs, you need to have the right kind of work experience.

We use the National Occupational Classification system to classify jobs. As a student, you may have opportunities to get Canadian work experience. This includes opportunities to work:

  • on-campus
  • off-campus
  • as a co-op student or intern as part of your study program

These are valuable experiences, but only the work you do after you graduate will count when you apply for permanent residence.

That’s why it’s important to use the post-graduation work permit to get the kind of work experience that will make you eligible for an immigration program.

Here’s a National Occupational Classification cheat sheet that shows the type of work experience you need for each program:

Skill type 0 (management jobs) Level A (professional jobs) Level B (technical jobs and skilled trades) Level C (intermediate jobs) Level D (labour jobs)
Provincial Nominee Program (varies by province)

Regional and provincial programs and pilots

As you narrow down your choices of where to study, research what is offered by the province or territory where the schools are located. Some might be a better match for you than others.

Most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate immigrants for permanent residence through the Provincial Nominee Program. These immigrants must have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory. They must also want to live there.

What each province offers

To be nominated by a province or territory, you must follow the instructions on their website and contact them directly:


Quebec has a special agreement with the Government of Canada on immigration. The province has its own rules for choosing immigrants who will adapt well to living there.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot provides a path to permanent residence for graduates from publicly -funded schools in:

  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Newfoundland and Labrador

Other immigration programs

Check out our immigration program cheat sheet to see what’s available and what you need to be eligible.

Page details

Date modified: