Unanswered Truths about the Canadian Permanent Residency Opportunities for International Students

For 2015-2016 total of prospective temporary residents for permanent residency were around 470,000 of which 221,486 were International students. However, international Students form a small percentage of economic-based immigrants ( programs such as Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class, Business Class, Provincial Nominee Programs, etc.). Canadian government’s immigration level plan for 2017 indicates that Canada will welcome 280,000 to 320,000 new immigrants of which there is a target of 172,500 economic immigrants.  What does this mean for the permanent residency opportunities for international students? The math is very simple. 36% of total temporary residents successfully convert as permanent residents. It is certainly an interesting situation for international students who come to Canada with a dream of becoming permanent residents. Addition of new temporary residents entering Canada every year makes this scenario even more interesting and challenging in many ways.

A typical international student’s pathway to permanent residency is study permit leading to post graduate work permit which then gives them adequate work experience to qualify for permanent resident stream using the Express Entry (EE) gateway. Express entry is a gateway system to manage the intake of permanent resident applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Class, Federal Skilled Trades Class, the Canadian Experience Class, and some Provincial Nominee Classes. Candidates that enter the EE pool are assigned Comprehensive Ranking System (“CRS”) points based on their background. The maximum number of points is 1200. Ministerial instructions dictate when a round of invitations to apply (“ITA”) will be issued and the number of ITA’s that will be issued. At each round of invitations the candidates with the top scores are expended. Students with Post Graduate Permit are generally able to obtain the necessary one year skilled work experience to qualify for the Canadian Experience Class. However, the challenge for international students is to stand ahead of the other permanent resident hopefuls in the Express Entry pool by obtaining a qualifying CRS score. From our past experience applying following tips have helped several international students to successfully plan their permanent residency.

Some helpful tips for being successful in obtaining PR

  1. Finding the right employment. Immigration program requirements keep changing and each province has its own requirements for the provincial nominee programs. What is important to keep in mind is the existing backlog of applications that the province has. For example, a two year processing delay can mean potential change of jobs and even change of the job offers (promotion within the company) for the candidate;
  2. Hire an immigration lawyer who understands your situation and international student program extremely well;
  3. Plan ahead of time. Hire professional early and not leave it to the last minute. A good advice can assist you in steering to the right kind of job opportunity and also plan your permanent residency while completing your studies. Attending applicants with permits nearing expiration are difficult as planning a proper immigration solution requires proper planning and strategizing. We had a client, an international student on a 3 year work permit who applied under the provincial nominee program. The processing time at the time of submitting the application was 13 months which later increased to 18 months. Meanwhile, a policy change for the federal programs allowed us to strategise an application under Canadian experience class. Using this strategy we could secure permanent residency for this international student well before the expiry of the post graduate work permit;
  4. Each immigration program has specific document requirements and gathering documents can take time. It is less stressful if you are more organized in planning your permanent resident application. For example, check your passports for expiry date. Extend them well in advance. It will save you a lot of time and money; and
  5. Understand National Occupation Classification (NOC) of job categories O, A, B, and C. It assists in applying for employment, the experience of which can qualify for one of the permanent residency streams.

Click here to complete a Personal, No Obligation Assessment Form to see if you qualify for international student program, or if another program would be better suited to your needs.

You can also reach us directly by calling our office at 1(250) -616 -4832 or email [email protected]