Education offers a route to Canadian permanent resident status.

There are a range of programs whereby international students may apply for permanent immigration. In some cases, this can be done without obtaining a job offer from a Canadian employer.

In addition, international students in Canada may:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week while in school, and on a full-time basis during school breaks;
  • obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit for the equivalent duration of the studies once the program is successfully completed, allowing students to remain in Canada for many years before becoming a permanent resident;
  • bring an accompanying spouse or common-law partner to Canada on an open full-time work permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer;
  • bring accompanying minor children to study in Canada at the same rate that Canadians pay; and
  • become eligible for Canadian permanent residence, either through a Provincial Nominee Program, through Quebec's immigration system, or through the Express Entry immigration selection system.

The steps to becoming a Canadian permanent resident through education are outlined below.

 

The pathway to Canadian immgration through education

Are you eligible?

To discover your options for studying in Canada, and working or immigrating after graduation, complete the CanadaVisa Study Pathway Form today.

Study Assessment Form

 

Step 1: Learn the basics and begin your search

Beginning your search

CanadaVisa.com offers FREE tools and resources available to help you get to grips with the process.

CanadaVisa School Search

The CanadaVisa School Search helps you find the institution best suited to your needs. This resource provides detailed, up-to-date information on each institution's location, cost, admission requirements, signature programs, and more.

University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in early Fall

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SchoolMatch Canada

SchoolMatch provides you with a FREE personalized report to show which Canadian schools match your expectations and goals. Using advanced algorithms, SchoolMatch has helped thousands of students find the right education institution in Canada.

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FREE SchoolMatch Assessment

Canada Study News

Canada Study News focuses on every aspect of studying in Canada as an international student, from preparation to immigration. With the latest news and analysis, you can get the free Canada Study Newsletter delivered straight to your email inbox each month.

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Concerns and solutions

Concern: 'I have been working in a full-time job for many years. How could I put everything on hold and (re)-enter the education system? How would I gain an income?'

Solution: International students in Canada can work off-campus while studying, allowing them to gain an income, build up valuable Canadian work experience, and make professional connections that can help them later in their career.

Concern: 'Isn't college or university only for young people who haven't yet begun their working lives?'

Solution: If you are worried that immigration to Canada via education is not a realistic pathway, note that age is neither a barrier to gaining admission to a school nor obtaining a study permit. Canadian schools, including colleges and universities, have many mature students on their enrollment.

 

Step 2: Gain admission to a Canadian designated institution

Once you have identified a particular study program, or a shortlist of potential study programs, you will need to gain admission by obtaining what is known as a Letter of Acceptance. While the exact admission requirements and procedures vary between institutions across Canada, our dedicated 'Get Admission to a Canadian Educational Institution' page outlines potential requirements for gaining admission to a Canadian designated institution.

 

Step 3: Apply for a Canadian Study Permit

Once you have gained admission to a study program at a Canadian designated institution. you may begin to apply for a Canadian Study Permit. A Study Permit is a document issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that allows a foreign individual to study in Canada for a designated period of time. In addition to having already obtained a Letter of Acceptance, an applicant for a Study Permit also needs to satisfy the Canadian Visa Officer that he or she has sufficient funds to pay tuition fees and cover living expenses while in Canada.

Applicants from certain countries may also require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Concerns and Solutions

Concern: 'I don't have sufficient funds.'

Solution: The types of proof of financial support that may be accepted by IRCC include: proof of a student/education loan from a financial institution, a letter from the person or institution providing you with money, and proof of funding paid from within Canada if you have a scholarship or are in a Canadian-funded educational program.

Concern: 'I have already been refused in a previous effort to obtain a Canadian Study Permit'

Solution: Prospective students in Canada who have been refused a Canadian study permit may find themselves in a frustrating position. There may, however, be a solution. Learn more on our dedicated 'Study Permit Refusals and Appeals' page.

 

 CanadaVisa Study Hub

The Study Hub is an online portal designed for international students and workers on a Post-Graduate Work Permit in Canada. If you are an international student studying in Canada, or have recently graduated and are working in Canada, check out the wide range of customized tools and resources on offer. Members of the Study Hub can also apply for the new CanadaVisa Scholarship! Every month, one member will win a scholarship worth $2,500. Join the CanadaVisa Study Hub now to enter with a chance to win — you're only one step away!

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Step 4: Complete your study program and obtain an open work permit

Once you are studying in Canada, it is important to maintain your status in the country. This may entail renewing or changing your study permit. After completing your study program in Canada, a typical path from student to permanent resident status in Canada is through taking advantage of something Canada offers that is not available, or more difficult to obtain, in other countries — an open Post-Graduation Work Permit.

This work permit, which allows its bearer to work for any employer in Canada, may be issued upon completion of the study program and is equal in length to the duration of that program, up to a maximum of three years. Thus, a graduate who completed a three- or four-year study program may be eligible for a three-year work permit, allowing him or her to remain in Canada for a total of six years.

 

Step 5. Become a permanent resident of Canada

Individuals who have obtained a Canadian degree, diploma or certificate and built up professional experience in Canada may have multiple immigration options through the available federal and provincial programs. There is only one place where you can get an assessment of your immigration options across the more than 60 programs that lead to Canadian permanent resident status — the CanadaVisa immigration assessment form.

Even if you have submitted this form before and been informed that you are likely ineligible to immigrate to Canada, remember that things may change. New programs may be created for which you may be eligible, or existing programs may be amended, which also has the potential to make previously-ineligible individuals eligible.

Individuals who are currently ineligible to immigrate to Canada can take control of their own destiny and begin the pathway to Canadian immigration through education — it may be your best chance to achieve your Canadian immigration goals.

 

To begin your pathway to Canadian immigration through education, use our CanadaVisa School Search and SchoolMatch Canada tools.

Tools and Resources

Latest News

  • Manitoba Invites Skilled Workers to Apply for Provincial Nomination in August 15 Draw

    The province of Manitoba has invited a total of 443 skilled workers to settle in the province as permanent residents in a draw that took place on August 15. These candidates, plus their family members, are now in a position to apply for immigration to Manitoba through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP).

  • Latest BC Immigration Draws Invite Graduates and Workers, Including Tech Workers

    British Columbia issued a total of 357 Invitations to Apply (ITAs) to the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) in draws that took place on July 19 and July 26. The latter draw was a 'tech-only' draw, a new initiative started by BC in May. Non-tech workers and graduates may have been invited to apply on July 19.