Archive - Study Permits: One avenue on the roadmap to Canada

Published: 21 July 2015

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Want to study in Canada?

Canada's first-rate academic institutions welcome international students from across the world. More than 130,000 students come to study in Canada every year and even more come to Canada to learn English or French. Foreign students bring a rich culture to Canadian classrooms.

For example, McGill University, in Montreal, ranked 19th in the world according to the World University Rankings Results for 2010. With students coming to McGill from more than 150 countries, the student population at McGill is the most internationally diverse of any university in Canada. But McGill is not alone. The vast majority of schools in Canada have a vibrant, engaged community that’s welcoming to international students and rich in diversity.

To be a more innovative society and to be able to compete and prosper in a global, knowledge-based economy, Canada needs people with an international outlook, skills and experience. Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, has said, “Attracting more international students is a priority for our government."

Most international students will require a student visa (know as a Study Permit) to study in Canada. A Study Permit is a document issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that allows a foreign individual to study in Canada for a limited time, generally at a specific Canadian educational institution and in a specific program.

Study permits as an avenue to Canadian permanent residence

Not only will studying in Canada prepare you for work in Canada, it can also help you fast-track your Canadian immigration application if you wish to stay in Canada after you finish your study program. Additionally, international students are eligible for Work Permits to obtain Canadian work experience both during and after their studies.

Upon graduation, international students are encouraged to obtain Canadian work experience. The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program allows international graduates to obtain a three-year open work permit so that they can stay and contribute to the Canadian work force.

“For many, studying in Canada may be an innovative way to qualify for permanent residency in Canada,” says Attorney David Cohen.

The Canadian Experience Class is one way students can qualify for Canadian permanent residency. Another way to qualify for Canadian permanent residency is by applying to a provincial nomination program (PNP).

The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have immigration categories specifically for international graduates as part of their PNPs. To be eligible, an applicant is required to have completed a college or university program in Canada and received a job offer from an employer in that province.

Even better, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba have similar categories as above for international graduates, but have also introduced streams that do not require a job offer.

  • The Opportunities Ontario PNP has the International PhD Graduate stream and the International Masters Graduate Stream. These streams are for graduates of masters or PhD programs at Ontario publicly-funded universities. A job offer is not required in order to be eligible to apply.
  • The province of British Columbia recently added the International Post-Graduates Pilot Project to its PNP. Under this category, international students who have obtained masters or doctorate degrees in the natural, applied or health sciences within the last two years may apply even if they have not obtained a job offer.
  • Starting in 2011, the Manitoba PNP will introduce an International Student Stream whereby applicants who graduate from a college or university program of at least two academic years will be able to apply immediately to the Provincial Nominee Program in advance of receiving an offer of employment.