While pursuing their studies in Canada, international students have the opportunity to seek permanent resident status either during their academic program or upon completion of their studies.
International students in Canada interested in obtaining permanent resident status have several options available, contingent upon meeting the specific requirements and eligibility criteria of their chosen program.
Securing permanent residence is not automatically guaranteed for international students upon finishing their studies in Canada. Nevertheless, they can enhance their prospects by proactively preparing and gaining insights into the eligibility criteria for different immigration pathways.
Canada provides numerous avenues for international students to attain permanent residence, as studies indicate that those with Canadian education often excel in the local job market. These students are recognized as a valuable pool of skilled individuals capable of addressing labor market needs in Canada. Furthermore, Canadian employers highly value the educational and work experiences gained by international students within the country.
Upon finishing their studies in Canada, numerous international students opt to pursue a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This permit offers them an open work permit, granting the flexibility to work in almost any location and for virtually any employer across Canada.
Students may qualify for a PGWP if they meet the following criteria:
1. Completed studies in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a designated learning institution (DLI) listed on the eligible DLI List. The program should lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
2. Maintained full-time student status in Canada throughout each academic session of the completed program or programs of study, which must be included as part of their post-graduation work permit application.
3. Obtained a transcript and an official letter from the eligible DLI confirming the fulfillment of requirements to complete the program of study.
The PGWP is advantageous as it allows international students to gain Canadian work experience, making them eligible for permanent residence. Additionally, this experience enhances their competitiveness as candidates for Canadian immigration, as many pathways prioritize candidates with Canadian work experience.
Express Entry is a system designed to manage applications for three federal skilled worker immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).
The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) serves as a permanent residence pathway for individuals with work experience in Canada. It is particularly favored by international students who have acquired Canadian work experience.
To qualify for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), an applicant must fulfill the following conditions:
1. Acquire a minimum of one year of skilled, professional, or technical work experience in Canada within 36 months from the application date.
2. Attain or exceed a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 5 ("initial intermediate") for National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels of 2 or 3 jobs, or CLB 7 ("adequate intermediate proficiency") for NOC skill levels of 0 or 1 jobs.
3. Intend to reside and work outside the province of Quebec. (Applicants with work experience in Quebec, who plan to settle in Quebec, should apply through the Quebec Experience Class.)
If you meet the eligibility criteria for any of the programs, you have the option to submit a profile on the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) assigns scores to candidates considering factors such as age, education, work experience, and language proficiency. Individuals with the highest scores receive invitations to apply for permanent residence.
Candidates who have successfully completed a study program in Canada or possess Canadian work experience earn additional CRS points, enhancing their prospects of securing permanent residence.
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is operational in nearly every province and territory in Canada. Through the PNP, provinces and territories have the authority to nominate individuals desiring to immigrate to Canada and establish residency in a specific province.
Numerous PNP streams provide incentives for candidates who have pursued studies and gained work experience in Canada.
Quebec Experience Program (PEQ)
International students who have completed their studies in Quebec may be eligible to apply for a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) under the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) if they:
1. Express an intention to settle in Quebec to pursue employment
2. Have temporarily resided in Quebec for the purpose of studying.
3. Hold an eligible degree or diploma from an educational institution recognized by the Quebec Ministry of Education within the past 36 months.
4. Have accumulated at least 1,800 hours (equivalent to two years) of study in Quebec.
5. Possess a Master's, Bachelor's, or DEC diploma and have 12 months of work experience in a 0, A, B level job, with the requirement to hold such a job at the time of application.
6. Hold a DEP and have 18 months of work experience in a 0, A, B, or C level job, with the obligation to hold such a job at the time of application. It is important to note that C level work must be related to the obtained degree.
Additionally, candidates must demonstrate a proficiency in the French language to qualify for the PEQ.
Other permanent residence pathway options
The Atlantic Immigration Program presents an opportunity for students who have completed their studies in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Newfoundland and Labrador.
Likewise, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot extends permanent residence options to international students residing in participating rural and northern communities across Canada.
Another avenue is available for Hong Kong residents, as Canada provides two permanent residence pathways for individuals from Hong Kong who have pursued studies in the country.
If you are finishing your PGWP and you want to immigrate to Canada, we can help you! Contact our team and book an appointment with our immigration consultants. Take advantage of our free online assessment today!