PATHWAYS TO CANADIAN
Education offers a route to Canadian permanent resident status.
There are a range of programs whereby international students may apply for permanent immigration. In some cases, this can be done without obtaining a job offer from a Canadian employer.
In addition, international students in Canada may:
work for up to 20 hours per week while in school, and on a full-time basis during school breaks;
obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit for the equivalent duration of the studies once the program is successfully completed, allowing students to remain in Canada for many years before becoming a permanent resident;
bring an accompanying spouse or common-law partner to Canada on an open full-time work permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer;
bring accompanying minor children to study in Canada at the same rate that Canadians pay; and
become eligible for Canadian permanent residence, either through a Provincial Nominee Program, through Quebec's immigration system, or through the Express Entry immigration selection system.
The steps to becoming a Canadian permanent resident through education are outlined below.
Gain admission to a Canadian designated institution
Once you have identified a particular study program, or a shortlist of potential study programs, you will need to gain admission by obtaining what is known as a Letter of Acceptance. While the exact admission requirements and procedures vary between institutions across Canada, our dedicated 'Get Admission to a Canadian Educational Institution' page outlines potential requirements for gaining admission to a Canadian designated institution.
Apply for a Canadian Study Permit
Once you have gained admission to a study program at a Canadian designated institution. you may begin to apply for a Canadian Study Permit. A Study Permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows a foreign individual to study in Canada for a designated period of time. In addition to having already obtained a Letter of Acceptance, an applicant for a Study Permit also needs to satisfy the Canadian Visa Officer that he or she has sufficient funds to pay tuition fees and cover living expenses while in Canada.
Applicants from certain countries may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).
Complete your study program and obtain an open work permit
Once you are studying in Canada, it is important to maintain your status in the country. This may entail renewing or changing your study permit. After completing your study program in Canada, a typical path from student to permanent resident status in Canada is through taking advantage of something Canada offers that is not available, or more difficult to obtain, in other countries — an open Post-Graduation Work Permit.
This work permit, which allows its bearer to work for any employer in Canada, may be issued upon completion of the study program and is equal in length to the duration of that program, up to a maximum of three years. Thus, a graduate who completed a three- or four-year study program may be eligible for a three-year work permit, allowing him or her to remain in Canada for a total of six years.
Become a permanent resident of Canada
Individuals who have obtained a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate and built up professional experience in Canada may have multiple immigration options through the available federal and provincial programs. There is only one place where you can get an assessment of your immigration options across the more than 80 programs that lead to Canadian permanent resident status — the immigration assessment form.
Even if you have submitted this form before and been informed that you are likely ineligible to immigrate to Canada, remember that things may change. New programs may be created for which you may be eligible, or existing programs may be amended, which also has the potential to make previously-ineligible individuals eligible.
Individuals who are currently ineligible to immigrate to Canada can take control of their own destiny and begin the pathway to Canadian immigration through education — it could very well be your only chance to achieve your Canadian immigration goal.