How to Obtain Permanent Residency for International Students in Canada

How to Obtain Permanent Residency for International Students in Canada

Discover the necessary requirements and appropriate immigration programs for international students seeking permanent residency in Canada.

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in the number of foreigners choosing Canada as their destination for obtaining a university degree. The cost of education in Canada is considerably lower compared to countries like the USA, without compromising on the high level of quality it offers. Additionally, Canadian graduates find it relatively easy to secure employment and obtain permanent residency through available immigration programs.

The First Steps 

Obtaining admission to a Canadian university is generally straightforward if you have the necessary financial means. Typically, there is no requirement to pass demanding exams. Instead, you will need to demonstrate your language proficiency by taking exams such as the IELTS or TOEFL for English, or the TEF for French. 

To begin the application process, you are required to submit specific documents to the university of your choice. The standard list of required documents is relatively concise and typically includes the following: 

  • Copies of the applicant's passport and, if applicable, the passport of one parent or legal guardian.
  • Secondary school certificate with grade transcripts.
  • Academic certificates and mark sheets for recent terms, in case the applicant is currently studying at a university in their home country.
  • Language examination results. 

Toronto. Photo: Eugene Aikimov (Unsplash)

Furthermore, it is important to note that many Canadian universities also require applicants to submit a Statement of Purpose. Additionally, all documents must be translated into English and notarized for submission.  

Once your application form is approved by the university, you will receive a Letter of Acceptance. The subsequent step is to apply for a Study Permit, which can be done either online or in person at a visa application centre. For the application, you will need to provide the Letter of Acceptance and a copy of your passport or other valid travel ID. Additionally, all applicants are required to undergo a medical examination to ensure that they do not pose a risk to public health in Canada. Therefore, you should submit a medical certificate along with a police clearance certificate. It is also necessary to adhere to certain regulations, such as purchasing health insurance, demonstrating sufficient funds to cover your study and living expenses in Canada, as well as proving your intention to return to your home country after completing your studies. 

It's important to note that a Study Permit alone is not sufficient to enter Canada. In addition to the Study Permit, you will also require a student visa. There are two options available: a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). The eTA is applicable for citizens of countries that have a visa-exempt agreement with Canada, allowing them to enter without a visa. However, if your country does not have such an agreement, you will need to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to enter Canada. 

It is important to regularly check the validity of your documents while studying and extend them if necessary. To apply for a validity extension, ensure that you submit your application at least 30 days before your documents expire. 

Obtaining a Permanent Residence Permit in Canada after Graduation 

Upon completion of your studies, your Study Permit will remain valid for an additional 90 days, giving you ample time to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). To be eligible for a PGWP, you must have successfully completed a program of study at an accredited Canadian university that is a minimum of 8 months in duration. By meeting these requirements, you can apply for a PGWP, which will allow you to work in Canada following your studies.

Upon completing 12 months of work in Canada on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), you become eligible to apply for a permanent residency permit in Canada. To pursue this, you have the option to select one of the available immigration programs tailored to your situation and goals.

Canadian Experience Class (CEC)  

The primary requirement for the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program is to have a minimum of 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada. It's important to note that internships or student work experience are not considered eligible under the CEC program. 

To be eligible, you are required to have accumulated 12 months of skilled work experience within the last three years prior to your application. Fortunately, you are not obligated to submit your employment contract or provide proof of financial solvency to the commission. 

However, it's important to note that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program may not be suitable for individuals who have studied or worked in Quebec and intend to stay in that province, as Quebec has its own immigration programs.

Photo: Kenny Eliason (Unsplash)

Quebec Experience Programme (PEQ)  

The Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) is the primary immigration program in Quebec. To be eligible for PEQ, you must have studied in Quebec or be completing your studies within six months from the date of your application. This program is designed for individuals who aspire to settle in Quebec and possess intermediate-level French language skills. Additionally, you must have a minimum of 12 months of full-time work experience in Canada to meet the program's requirements.

Quebec Skilled Worker Programme (QSW) 

The Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program is another immigration program available to international students in Quebec. This program selects candidates for a permanent residency permit based on a ranking system. Points are awarded based on various factors, including education, language skills, work experience, age, connections to Quebec, and job offers from local employers.

Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP)  

Similar to Quebec, other Canadian provinces also have their own immigration programs tailored to the economic needs of specific regions. The requirements for these programs vary from province to province. For example, some provinces may require candidates to have relevant work experience or hold an official job offer as part of their eligibility criteria. 

Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSW) 

The Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program is one of the three federal immigration programs managed through Express Entry. It offers a suitable pathway for international students with skilled work experience acquired outside of Canada. The selection process is based on a points system, where candidates accumulate points throughout their application. The more in-demand your skills are, the greater your opportunities to immigrate through the FSW program. To be eligible for the FSW program, you must have a minimum of 12 months of continuous skilled work experience gained abroad. It is worth noting that whether you worked part-time or full-time does not affect your eligibility. As long as you meet the required duration and nature of skilled work experience, you can qualify for the FSW program.

In a Nutshell 

Upon completing their study programs, international students in Canada have a multitude of opportunities to continue their stay. The country offers various immigration programs, each with its own set of requirements, including language skills and work experience. These programs provide avenues for international students to transition from temporary status to permanent residency, allowing them to build a future in Canada.

Cover photo: Helena Lopes (Unsplash)

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