Coming from the changes made to the Comprehensive Ranking System for Canadian Express Entry, it seems that the popular consensus is that the best way to get invited for Permanent Residency is to get a Provincial Nomination from the many different provinces in Canada.
This might be true for most people, but for those who are able and willing to take a longer term approach to become a permanent resident of Canada, there is another path to obtaining a PR and that is through becoming a student in Canada.
A Student Visa then a Post-Graduation Work Permit
Obviously, a student visa is not a permanent resident visa, but being a student in Canada will give you a better chance at landing a PR visa down the road because of the opportunities it may present to you after you graduate.
Simply put, as long as you enroll in a participating Canadian post-secondary institution, you will, upon graduation, be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit. The length of this work permit will match the length of your time of study in Canada, but it will not be longer than three years. Keep in mind though that the length of your study program must not be less than eight months to apply for a PGWP.
For example, upon graduation from a two year college/university course in Canada. You will be eligible for a post-graduation work visa with a validity of anywhere between a eight months and two years.
As a Student, Will I Be Able to Work?
Of course, not everybody can afford to be a full time student in Canada without a source of income.
Well, it’s a good thing that as a full time student, you will be allowed to work full time as long as the job is inside your school/campus. For off-campus work, a maximum of 20 hours is allowed when classes are in session and full time work will be allowed when classes are not in session.
By already being able to work as a student, an immigrant can already gain some “Canadian work experience” under his belt (something that is extremely valuable for someone that is applying for a “non-survival” job.)
What About My Spouse?
Just like you, your spouse will also be able to work! Spouses of student visa holders are able to apply for an open work permit, which will allow him/her to work full time while you are studying.
How Will This Help Me Become a Permanent Resident?
After graduation, your marketability in the Express Entry pool will increase in multiple aspects:
- First, additional points will be given to you based on your Canadian education. Those points will be added to any points you already have from your education in your home country.
- Points will also be awarded to you if you chose to work during your time as a student and for your employment with your PGWP since you will effectively have the very sought after “Canadian work experience”.
- Finally, if you get a job and do well after graduation. It will also be possible for your employer to sponsor you to become a permanent resident.
Why Aren’t More People Doing This?
For most people, they just don’t have the resources to pursue further studies in Canada. Degrees in Canada are not cheap and even if the ability to work while studying is there, it will be very, very hard to make ends meet. It’s also difficult to accept the risk of still not being able to become a permanent resident after investing a lot of time and money studying in Canada.
Personally, N and I almost went this route when it seemed that our application for a Provincial Nomination wasn’t going anywhere. It was something that I really considered and we would’ve probably tried our luck with it, had our Prince Edward Island Provincial Nomination not push though.
Is a student’s path to permanent residency worth the time and effort? We would love to get your thoughts! Also, If there’s anything you want to ask, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Alternatively, we’ve also set up a Twitter account @tropics2rockies, so we can also talk there.