Fall’s “Back to School” season provides many opportunities for international students who are seeking to study and ultimately live and/or work in Canada.
The Immigration Department has come to realize that international students tend to make excellent workers and permanent immigrants who are able to establish themselves in Canada with considerable success.
Studying in Canada
To come to Canada as an International Student the first step is to obtain a letter of acceptance from an educational institution.
There are many different types of educational facilities in Canada including public colleges and universities, private schools and independent English as a Second Language (ESL) schools.
It is recommended that an international student choose to study at a publicly funded college or university or approved private educational facility such that they will be able to both work and apply for permanent residence at the end of their program.
Applications for study permits can take several months to process and you are strongly urged to obtain a letter of acceptance well in advance and to submit your application for a study permit at least three or four months prior to the commencement of your program.
Opportunities to Work in Canada
International students now have the opportunity to work in Canada under both the Off-Campus work permit program and the Post-Graduate work permit program.
The Off-Campus work permit is available to those students who are studying at a publicly funded college or university that has been recognized by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). For a full list of participating institutions please see the following link: www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/
Students seeking an Off-Campus work permit will firstly all have to attend school on a full-time basis for at least six months and then are eligible to apply for the Off-Campus work permit.
Permanent residence: The Canadian Experience Class (CEC), the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) and Graduate Student Programs
There are now numerous opportunities for students to apply for permanent residence after completion of their studies.
The CEC provides that students who have studied for a minimum of two years in Canada and subsequently obtained one year of Post-Graduate work experience are eligible to apply for permanent residence in the CEC.
If you have a three year Post-Graduate work permit, after completing one year of full-time employment you are eligible to apply for permanent residence and this will likely be finalized prior to the completion of your three year Post-Graduate work permit.
Most PNPs also have international graduate programs that allow you to apply for permanent residence in a province where an employer has given you an offer of employment. PNPs vary from province to province so it’s very important to understand the details of the program in the province which you intend to reside.