Pathways to Permanent Residence
After completing their studies in Canada, many international students decide they wish to move to Canada permanently. Thankfully, there are many pathways available to international students who want to transition to Canadian permanent residence.
Many of Canada’s permanent residency immigration programs privilege applicants who have a connection to Canada, either with ties to a specific province, Canadian work experience, or a Canadian educational credential. Canadian international students benefit from some or all of these advantages if they choose to pursue immigration to Canada permanently. Please note that international students in Canada should ensure they meet the conditions of their study permit throughout their stay. If a student violates the terms of their study permit, this could jeopardize future immigration applications.
Immigration Programs for International Students
There are many immigration programs available to international students. While each program operates differently and has requirements beyond completing Canadian studies, the programs listed below may provide international student graduates with accelerated pathways to becoming Canadian permanent residents:
- Canadian Experience Class
- Federal Skilled Worker Program
- Provincial Nominee Programs
- Quebec Immigration Options
- Post-Graduation Work Permits
Please note that many of the programs are operated through Canada’s Express Entry system, the federal system for managing permanent resident applications.
Canadian Experience Class
Operated through the Express Entry immigration system, the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program is one of the fastest ways to obtain Canadian permanent residence. While there are a range of eligibility factors for this program, including age, language proficiency, and level of education, a distinguishing requirement is that applicants prove they have at least 12-months of continuous, full-time, skilled work experience in Canada within the previous three years, or an equivalent amount in part-time experience. Once an international student obtains this level of work experience, CEC may become a great immigration option!
One condition of CEC is that work experience gained during a period of full-time study does not count towards the 12-month requirement, so international students cannot count work experience gained during their study program. However, once an international student graduates, they will likely become eligible for a post-graduation work permit, which will allow them to gain the work experience needed to qualify for CEC.
Federal Skilled Worker Program
Operated through the Express Entry immigration system, the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program may be an option for some international student graduates. Unlike the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), FSW does not require a person to have Canadian work experience, so this is a good option for international student graduates who already gained skilled work experience abroad.
The FSW program is a merit-based immigration program that uses a points-based Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score to automatically rank candidates against one another, only inviting those candidates with the most competitive profiles to apply for permanent residence. If an international student meets the eligibility requirements and is highly competitive within the CRS scoring system, FSW can be a great pathway to becoming a permanent resident.
It should be noted that the FSW program does require that applicants prove they have a minimum of 12-months of full-time, continuous, skilled work experience, completed in any country, or an equivalent amount in part-time experience. For international students who have never entered the workforce, this program will not be an option.
Provincial Nominee Programs
Each of Canada’s provinces and territories operate their own immigration programs, called Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). Every PNP works differently, since they are designed to meet the needs of that specific province or territory. Many PNPs give preference to applicants who have some kind of connection to the province, including previous study completed within the province and work experience gained in the province. Depending on the province where an international student completed their program of study, they may be eligible to apply for a PNP within that province.
Post-Graduation Work Permits
A post-graduation work permit is not a direct permanent residence program. However, it does allow most international students who have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) to remain in Canada after their period of study and work with any employer in Canada. This experience can help a person to qualify for Canadian permanent residence, usually through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) or an employer-driven Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Please note that not all programs offered at DLIs are eligible for a post-graduation work permit.
Our International Student Program
If you want to immigrate to Canada permanently, coming as an international student is a practical first step on your journey. From choosing a school, to applying for a study permit, Our International Student Program is here to help you keep it simple!
Free Immigration Assessment
Discover your Canadian immigration options by completing our free immigration assessment form today and a member of our Team will contact you to discuss about your immigration to Canada.