The start of each new school term brings exciting opportunities for international students.
In addition to experiencing a new country and obtaining an international education, international students have numerous opportunities to work and live in Canada both during and after their studies. What can international students do to maximise their opportunities not only from an educational perspective but also for immigration purposes?
Students can also apply for permanent residence after completion of their studies through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or the Skilled Worker Program for PhD Graduates.
Renew your study permit before it expires
Once again, this may seem patently obvious but it is remarkable how often I am consulted by students who have completely missed the deadline for the expiration of their study permit. You need to renew your study permit before the day on which it expires. If you miss submitting a renewal application before the expiration of your current study permit, you will have ninety days to make a restoration application. However, while the application is being processed you cannot attend school.
Learn English or French
If you are attending a school in Canada then you will be attending class in either English or French. Be sure to learn the language of your study program. Again, this may appear to be obvious but I am regularly consulted by students who have been studying in Canada for several years and when they come to see me they bring an interpreter because they can't speak English. If you want to maximise your opportunities for both your education and your ability to find a good job after you graduate, then you will need to be able to communicate in English or French.
Be careful who prepares your immigration application
Since June 30th 2011, Canada's immigration laws only permit a licensed lawyer or a registered immigration consultant to prepare and submit immigration applications for a fee. Previously, many others assisted in the process such as travel agents or even the schools themselves. Unless the school employs a licensed lawyer or registered immigration consultant, then they are prohibited from offering this services.
Only work when authorized to do so
A study permit is a study permit – not a work permit. Be sure that you only work when you are authorized to do so and only for as much as you are authorized to do so. Often students are given co-op work permits concurrent with their study permits. Only work in accordance with the terms of the permit. I routinely see cases of students who come to Canada and spend most of their time working rather than studying either working beyond the limits of their work permit or working with no permit at all.