International students coming to Canada on a study permit do not acquire Permanent Residency by default. Canada has a study permit to permanent residency pathway for international students, that allows international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution to apply for PR in Canada. To be eligible for this pathway, international students must have completed a full-time program of at least eight months at a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. They must also have a valid post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and meet the requirements for one of the federal economic immigration programs, such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).
The CEC is for individuals who have at least 12 months of full-time (or equivalent) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before they apply. The FSWP is for individuals who have a certain level of work experience, education, and language proficiency. Once international students meet the eligibility requirements and have applied for permanent residency, they will be assessed on a number of factors such as their work experience, language proficiency, and education level.
International students aiming to study in Canada often enroll for a program without considering their future plans to apply for Permanent Residency and the applicable requisites. This often poses challenges at a later stage when after completing their studies, they are unable to find a suitable pathway for Permanent Residency or end up realizing that another program in another province might have been a better option for acquiring Permanent Residency, if they assessed the opportunities and planned ahead.
There are programs available in Canada that allow international students to apply for permanent residency without having to work in Canada first. Under the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), each Canadian province and territory has the ability to nominate a specific number of individuals for permanent residency. Some provinces have specific streams for international students, allowing them to apply for permanent residency without having to work in the province first. For example, the British Columbia PNP has an ‘International Graduate’ category that allows recent international graduates from Canadian institutions to apply for permanent residency without work experience. It's important to note that the requirements for these streams may vary from province to province, and the availability of these streams is subject to change. It's also important to research and check the most up to date information on the specific program and requirements before applying.
It is worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the study permit to permanent residency pathway in Canada. International students have been facing difficulties in obtaining PGWP and some have been unable to complete their studies due to the pandemic. Additionally, the processing times for permanent residency applications have been longer than usual.
Overall, the study permit to permanent residency pathway can be a great opportunity for international students who wish to stay and work in Canada after completing their studies. However, it is important for students to be aware of the eligibility requirements and any changes or challenges that may arise in the near future. Planning ahead not only helps in saving one’s precious time and money but also ensures a smooth transition from study permit holder to a Permanent Resident. Book your consultation with our expert RCIC to plan ahead.