Choosing to study in Canada not only allows international students to experience life and build social connections in Canada before becoming a permanent resident, it also helps them to improve their candidacy for immigration.
There are several Canadian entry programs with different eligibility requirements to which immigrant candidates can apply. For example, Express Entry programs are used to create a pool of skilled candidates and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) allow provinces to nominate candidates whose skills and experience would benefit a specific province.
For all of these programs, Canada’s immigration works on a point system outlined by the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) Criteria, which evaluates candidates based on age, language skills, education and work experience. The highest scoring immigrant candidates are invited to apply for a Canadian permanent residence (PR) visa.
Because Canadian immigration can be competitive, it is beneficial for candidates to earn as many CRS points as possible. One way to earn more points is to get a Canadian education and Canadian work experience. Canadian educational credentials and work experience are worth more points in the CRS than educational credentials or work experience earned outside of Canada.
A Canadian education has a lot to offer in addition to extra points. Canadian designated learning institutions (DLI) offer a high-quality education in either English or French that is more affordable than other popular destinations. The Canadian dollar is cheaper than the US dollar, Euro or British Pound and there are often scholarship opportunities for international students. Students are also permitted to work during their studies. A Canadian study permit allows students to work up to 20 hours per week during the course of their studies, and full-time during fall and spring reading weeks and winter and summer breaks. A student’s spouse or partner may also be able to work during this time.
After they complete their education, students may be eligible to apply for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) which allows them to work in Canada for up to three years after graduation. A PGWP is one way that immigrant candidates can earn valuable Canadian work experience. The permit allows former students to work in Canada for an employer of their choice. The length of the permit is determined by the length of their program. To be eligible for the full three years, their program must be at least two years long.
Although students are usually required to complete their studies in Canada to be eligible for a PGWP, due to COVID-19 health and travel restrictions, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has updated the PGWP eligibility rules to allow students to begin their studies online. Students can still apply for a study permit and begin their Canadian education in the fall without being penalized for time spent outside of Canada up to December 31, 2020.
This update also adds to the affordability of a Canadian education because students can save on living expenses by beginning their education online in their home country.
Sources: CIC and Government of Canada
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