Graduation is such an exciting time in a student’s life as it marks the milestone of officially obtaining a degree. As an international student, once your education comes to an end you have to think about what your next steps are especially in Canada. The last thing you want to do is run out of status in another country and become an illegal immigrant. If you decide to return back to your home country, that is great! If you choose to remain in Canada, there are a number of things you need to do once you graduate from school in Canada.
A lot of international students always ask “Can I stay in Canada after Graduation from university?” The answer is Yes you can!
You need to get your Post Graduate Work Permit
The Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) allows you to work full time and allows you to stay in Canada for up to 3 years. In order to apply for a PGWP in Canada, you need to have studied for more than 8 months to be eligible for a work permit. Also, you must apply within 180 days after graduation or the day you completed your program, whichever comes first. Failure to do so means you will have to leave the country. Lastly, the work permit is a once in a life application, meaning if you had your undergraduate degree in Canada and applied for a work permit then did a Master’s, you can’t apply after your Master’s for another PGWP.
Note: The general rule is if you study in Canada for one year, you get a year’s work permit. If you study for 2 years or more, you get a 3 years work permit.
Get health & dental insurance coverage
Being at university, your tuition covers Health & Dental care through your insurance. Upon graduation, that plan no longer covers you and the last thing you need is a health problem with no insurance coverage. One of the ways to get Health and Dental insurance coverage is by having a job but no one knows how it will take to land your first job after graduation. Thankfully in Nova Scotia, you can apply for provincial health insurance (also known as Medical Service Insurance – MSI) after one year of living in Nova Scotia. This means that even as a student you can apply for MSI.
Get a job
This definitely is the most obvious of them all. The only way to change your status from a work permit to permanent residency is by getting a job. You need to acquire one or more years of experience before applying for the Canadian Class Experience or any other immigration program of your choice.
Update your Social Insurance Number (S.I.N)
This item came as a shock to me as I didn’t think I needed to update my S.I.N despite changing my status. You can update your S.I.N by walking into the nearest Service Canada location. You can do this over the phone but it will take longer. If you are starting a new job, it is best to walk into the nearest Service Canada and get it updated at once. Your S.I.N number doesn’t change, it is just to update your status in the system
Get your driver’s license
You do not need to wait after graduation to do this. I strongly advise you to do it while in school, however, the cost of driving school may be too expensive for an international student. This is important because some jobs may require you to commute and not having a driver’s license might be what is stopping you from getting a job. The bonus to this is that when you eventually want to buy a car, the cost of insurance drops for you because of the number of years on your driving license.
Is there anything I forgot to add to this list? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.