Want to work in Canada and immigrate?
In recent years, obtaining a Canadian permanent residence (PR) visa has become more competitive.
Under various programs, immigration candidates are often ranked against one another, with the highest scoring candidates receiving invitations to apply for PR.
Candidates who want to improve their chances to become Canadian permanent residents may wish to consider an education pathway if they have the financial means to study in Canada.
Canada offers a very attractive package to international students
Canada offers one of the best packages to international students in the world, if not the best.
This package has become even more attractive following Canada’s major recent policy update.
Canada’s new policy will allow students to begin their Canadian education online in fall 2020, and still be eligible to obtain a Canadian work permit after their studies.
If your main goal is to obtain PR, an education pathway can help you in a number of ways.
First, we need to understand what is important in Canada’s immigration points system. Canada evaluates criteria such as your age, language skills, education, and work experience.
Studying in Canada will strengthen your immigration candidacy in three of these areas: language, education, and work experience. Of course, most international students are also young in age.
Pursuing an education pathway enables you to immerse yourself in an English and/or French environment which will support your economic and social integration in Canada.
You will also gain a quality educational credential which will help your career in Canada and also help you obtain more points under various immigration streams. Whether you seek PR under an Express Entry program, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), or another federal or provincial stream, Canadian credentials receive more points than foreign ones.
Work in Canada during and after your studies
One of the things that makes Canada so unique is it allows international students to work while they are studying in Canada, and also obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after their educational program has been completed.
A typical study permit will enable you to work for up to 20 hours per week for any employer during your studies, and full-time during breaks, such as summer and winter holidays.
Many students then go on to be eligible for a PGWP, which can be valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the student’s program in Canada. The PGWP also enables you to work for any employer of your choice (an “open work permit”).
In addition, spouses and partners of international students and PGWP holders are eligible to get an open work permit.
Gaining Canadian work experience is also highly beneficial for international students, since the qualifying work experience that they get with a PGWP can make them eligible for a variety of different immigration programs. Again, such immigration programs often award more points for Canadian work experience over foreign experience.
How you can study in Canada and then gain PR
An education pathway to PR can look something like this:
Rohan goes to a Canadian designated learning institution and pursues a 2-year college diploma program in Business Administration.
After completing the program, Rohan becomes eligible for a three-year PGWP, which is the maximum length of time for a PGWP.
He then goes on to work as a Business Analyst for a Canadian technology company. After gaining one year of full-time work experience, Rohan has the qualifying Canadian work experience he needs to become eligible for the Canadian Experience Class program under Express Entry.
After submitting his Express Entry profile, Rohan receives an invitation to apply for PR, and achieves his Canadian immigration goal.
This opportunity is now more available to individuals who want PR through an education pathway. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Canada is making it easier for international students to begin their Canadian education this fall.
New PGWP policy will help students begin their Canadian PR journey in fall 2020
Even if you are unable to travel to Canada in time for the start of your program in the fall, you can still begin the program online, and remain eligible for the PGWP.
There is still plenty of time to begin your Canadian immigration journey in the fall of 2020. You can go ahead and submit your applications to Canadian designated learning institutions (DLIs) in the coming weeks, and also have time to obtain a study permit.
DLIs are post-secondary institutions such as colleges and universities that are recognized by the government to host international students.
As long as you complete a qualifying program at a DLI of at least two years in duration or more, and arrive to Canada by December 31, 2020, you can still be eligible for a three-year PGWP after you complete your program.
One of the biggest concerns among international students has been addressed, since even if they cannot arrive to Canada by the fall due to a coronavirus interruption (e.g., they cannot find a flight to make it to Canada in time for the start of their program), students can start the program online without being penalized.
Online learning in fall 2020 will make studying in Canada more affordable
Having the financial means to study in Canada is important. Fortunately, Canada’s new policy makes it even more affordable to study in the country, since a student can save on living expenses by studying online in their home country for several months this fall, and then eventually move to Canada by the end of 2020.
Once they move to Canada, they can work while studying to help support themselves financially and also save money for their future.
In addition, Canada is already one of the least expensive destinations for international students in the western world, and the Canadian dollar is more affordable than other currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, and the British Pound.
There are also scholarships available in Canada for international students.
Hence, students who begin their Canadian educational program online this fall will be able to obtain a high-quality and affordable education, the right to work in Canada during and after their studies, and a major competitive advantage when they submit their permanent residence application.
Kareem El-Assal is the Director of Policy & Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa.
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