ILAC Insider: Understanding Canada’s new pathway to permanent residence for international students

Scott Smith

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the director of iHeartCanada and a licensed immigration consultant specializing in developing permanent residency pathways for international students. Learn more by visiting iHeartCanada or contact Scott by email with any immigration-related questions.

The Government of Canada has announced an exciting new pathway to permanent residence for 40,000 international students who have recently graduated from a public university or college in Canada.


Who can apply ?

To be eligible, international graduates must have completed a Canadian post-secondary program from a public college or university within the past four years (no earlier than January 2017). Applicants must have a valid work permit (or be under implied status with a PGWP application) and be actively employed by a Canadian company, and they must have maintained their conditions of study while enrolled in their academic program.


When does the program start and end?

Effective May 6, 2021, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will begin accepting applications. The program will remain open until November 5, 2021, or until they have reached their limit of 40,000 applications on a “first come, first served” basis.


What are the requirements?

In order to be eligible under the new program, international graduates must have:


      1. Completed a program of study any time after January 1, 2017 from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) that is eligible for the PGWP program.

    1. Completed the equivalent of
      • a 2-year diploma from a public college or university; or
      • two certificates or diplomas (each must be at least 8 months in duration for a total of 16 months) equivalent to a 2-year credential; or
      • a degree, diploma, certificate or attestation from a program of any duration that leads to a skilled trade occupation (e.g., Plumber, Welder, Carpenter); or
      • a degree program (Associate, Bachelor, Master’s or PhD) that is at least 8 months in duration
      1. Obtain CLB 5 (or higher) results for each language category on the IELTS (General) or CELPIP-G language exam.

      1. Be employed for a Canadian company with either a valid work permit or on implied status after submitting the PGWP application.

    1. Maintain residency in Canada and valid temporary residency status (e.g., work permit) during the processing of the PR application.

How do international students apply?

Applicants should apply online through their MyCIC account or through their Authorized Immigration Representative.


International graduates who may be eligible should take immediate steps to obtain the following:


    • IELTS (G) or CELPIP-G language results. Note: Previous IELTS/CELPIP language exam results obtained within two (2) years of the date of the PR application can also be used
    • Police clearance reports for the applicant and any accompanying spouse/common law partner/dependent child over the age of 18
    • Marriage certificate and/or birth certificates for accompanying children
    • Official transcript and diploma from eligible Canadian college or university
    • Letter of employment and two most recent pay slips to verify employment status in Canada

Where can international students book the IELTS or CELPIP test?

ILAC is the largest IELTS testing centre in Canada, with 15 locations across the country. Visit to find the testing centre nearest you.


Why is Canada so supportive of new immigrants?

Canada values international graduates as a source of key talent to help support economic growth. Granting permanent resident status to recent international graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions who are currently employed in Canada will help Canada’s pandemic recovery and into the future.

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