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Canadian Immigration Blog
Permanent Residence Options for International Students
April is just around the corner and this means that many students are in the process of completing their academic studies in Canada. International students studying in Canada are considered to be temporary residents and are expected to leave upon the completion of their studies. However, those students who wish to remain in Canada and become permanent residents have a few options.
- Canadian Experience Class
International students who have completed programs from participating Canadian post-secondary institutions may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Eligible applicants who receive this open-work permit have the opportunity to work for any employer. After gaining at least 1 year of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada, graduates may be eligible to apply for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program. In addition to meeting the work requirement, applicants must have had legal status in Canada, meet minimum language requirements, plan to live outside the province of Quebec and apply within three years of obtaining the skilled work experience. Self-employment and work experience gained while a full-time student does not count under this program. Potential candidates wishing to apply under CEC must go through the Express Entry system.
- Provincial Nomination Programs
In Ontario there are several programs that facilitate permanent residence applications for International students who intend to live and work in Ontario. Successful applicants will be issued a nominee certificate from the Ontario Immigration Nominee Program (OINP) which can then be used to apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence.
International Student with a Job Offer Stream
In order to apply as a nominee, international students must have a permanent, full-time job offer from an Ontario employer in a high-skilled occupation. The job offer must first be approved by OINP. To do so, the employer makes a separate pre-screen application establishing eligibility. In addition, international students must have graduated from or met the requirements of a full-time degree or diploma program at an eligible publicly-funded Canadian college or university that is at least two years in length, or a one year post-graduate certificate program. At least half of their studies have to be completed in Canada and students must apply within two years from the date from which they graduated.
International Student with a Masters degree
Prospective nominees who have a Masters degree from a publicly-funded university in Ontario can apply without a job offer. Masters graduates must apply within two years of the date on which their degree was granted, have legal status in Canada, demonstrate high language proficiency, meet a minimum level of savings/income, must not be intending to pursue further academic studies in Ontario, currently reside in Ontario, and intend to live and work in Ontario.
International Student with a PhD
To be eligible to apply as a PhD graduate, the prospective nominee must have successfully completed all requirements for the degree at an eligibly publicly-funded university in Ontario where they completed at least two years of study. They must apply within two years on which the PhD was grated, have legal status in Canada, and intend to live and work in Ontario. PhD applicants can also apply from outside of Canada
Ontario Express Entry: Human Capital Priorities or French-Speaking Skilled Worker
The Express Entry Human Capital Priorities stream and French-Speaking Skilled Worker streams are aligned with the federal Express Entry immigration selection system. Under both streams, Express Entry candidates who meet the requisite criteria will receive a Notification of Interest from the province of Ontario inviting them to apply under the applicable stream.
Under the Human Capital Priorities stream, applicants must have a score of at least 400 points according to the Express Entry Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), demonstrate language proficiency, have sufficient settlement funds, intend to reside in Ontario and have a degree from a Canadian institution (Bachelors, Masters of PhD) or foreign credentials verified as equivalent to a Canadian degree by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report.
The French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream is open to French-speaking skilled workers who wish to live and work permanently in Ontario. They must have the same educational requirements as described above as well as the intention to reside in Ontario.
Successful applicants from either stream will receive a nomination and if accepted, will earn an extra 600 points to be added to their Express Entry profile. With these extra points, they have a high chance of being invited to apply for permanent residence.
For more information on Permanent migration options, please click here.