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Study in Canada opens a window for immigration to International Students:

Updated: Jul 13, 2020



The good news is that if you are an international student or a graduate in Canada and aiming to settle in the Country permanently, you are the strongest contender because Canada wants you to stay back! The immigration programs are structured to reward your Canadian education and experience boosting your chances for permanent residency. From my years of experience of student recruitment in overseas, an appropriate study program and location can take you to a right immigration route eventually. Here is an overview of all the possible immigration programs you can explore after you graduate in Canada and learn how they are aligned to support your application for permanent residency.


Express Entry: - The main immigration system introduced in 2015 to streamline the immigration process, replaced the earlier first come first serve basis model, ensures the right skill meets the right place. It is important to note that express entry is not an immigration program but an online system which assesses the applications entered into the system through several federal and provincial immigration programs. The applications are assigned a score under the comprehensive ranking system (CRS) based on certain factors out of total score of 1200. The CRS benefits international graduates by scoring their Canadian education (up to 30 points) and work experience elevating their rank in the express entry pool.


Canadian Experience Class (CEC): - This federal immigration program is processed through the express entry which allows students and workers holding a minimum one year work experience in Canada to apply for permanent residency. The work experience must include NOC (National occupation classification) skill level 0, A or B and be full time (30 hours per week) gained preceding 36 months of making an application. The part time work experience acquired holding a valid work authorization adds to the work component but any work or internship done while studying won’t count towards the required work experience.


International students aiming to apply PR through CEC must opt for minimum two years study program which helps to earn a post-graduation work authorization of up to 3 years to ensure that they have a suitable time to gain the qualifying experience to apply for Canadian experience class. The qualifications and work experience earned in the Quebec province doesn’t not make you eligible for CEC, however you can for apply for its similar version of Quebec, PEQ (Quebec experience class).


Federal skilled worker program (FSWP): - This program is meant for the skilled workers who have earned the experience at places other than Canada. The qualifying work experience must be in the occupation categorized in 0, A or B of NOC list. The eligibility to apply under this immigration stream is to score 67 points on a grid of 100. The points are assigned on the basis of six factors such as age, education, experience, language, offer of employment from Canada and adaptability. The international graduates in Canada benefit from their adaptability (education &work) in Canada to receive some points for their application to federal skilled worker program. The application is further processed through the express entry system where it is assessed under the comprehensive ranking system (CRS).


Provincial nominee programs (PNPs):- Every province in Canada boasts a well-designed immigration program either aligned with express entry or operating independently to attract the immigrants for permanent residency. Each program encourages international graduates to stay back in the province and settle permanently by rewarding their Canadian education and work experience.


International students aiming to apply for permanent residence through provincial nominee programs must decide the place of education carefully because you can’t apply for certain provincial nomination if you have graduated from a different province in Canada. However this is not the case everywhere as you can still apply for a nomination in some provinces if you have earned an educational credential from a different province such as OINP (Ontario immigrant nominee program), SINP (Saskatchewan immigrant nominee program) or BC PNP (British Columbia provincial nominee program). International students with an educational credential earned from another Canadian province but holding another type of work permit (not PGWP) can be eligible for AINP (Alberta immigrant nominee program) through Alberta Opportunity stream. Similarly such students can apply for NSNP (Nova Scotia nominee program) as well through the Nova Scotia experience - Express entry stream if they have full time one year skilled work experience in NOC 0, A, B occupations in Nova in last three years of application. Newfoundland and Labrador provincial nominee program (NLPNP) is also open for the graduates of Canadian Colleges and Universities from other provinces.


Atlantic immigration pilot program (AIPP):- Atlantic immigration pilot program, shortly known as AIPP , is an employer driven program which offers an immigration route to foreign skilled workers and international graduates for any of the four Atlantic provinces of Canada such as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and New Found land & Labrador. The graduates who have studied from any of the Atlantic Provinces can apply for permanent residency through Atlantic international graduate program of AIPP. The low language requirement (equivalent CLB 4) and no work experience needed for international graduates makes the pilot an attractive pathway. Since AIPP is an employer driven program thus all the applicants require a job offer for 0, A, B or C occupations of NOC from a designated employer in Atlantic Canada. The graduates who have earned their education from the province not participating in AIPP can apply under the Atlantic high-skilled program or Atlantic intermediate-skilled program of AIPP requiring applicants to have one year skilled work experience in 0,A,B or C occupations of NOC.


Rural Northern immigration pilot (RNIP): - If you are an international graduate and studied for minimum two years full time at a public post-secondary institution in any of the 11 participating communities of RNIP, you don’t require a qualifying work experience to apply for permanent residency. RNIP has been a recent addition to a list of attractive economic immigration programs of Canada helping international graduates to transition into the permanent residency. An international graduate or foreign skilled worker must show intent to live in the community to receive the recommendation, one of the requirements of the community driven program. The other two requirements of the program include an offer of employment in an occupation categorized as 0, A, B, C or D of NOC and a minimum language benchmark of 4-6 CLB depending on the occupation.


Immigration route for Quebec :- The Quebec's economic immigration programs, Quebec experience class (PEQ) and Quebec skilled worker program (PRTQ) operate outside the Canada's federal immigration system and follow a two-step process. The first phase includes an application for CSQ (Quebec selection certificate) which reflects the selection for permanent residency by province. The application further moves to federal government for criminal and medical assessment to complete the process. Since PEQ has been always preferable for international graduates but a series of radical changes in the recent time has tarnished reputation of the program. As of July 2020, graduates need up to 2 years skilled work experience, a valid educational credential from a designated institution of Quebec and a demonstrated French language requirement to apply under PEQ. Further, any full time internship during the study will count towards work experience up to 3 months. The recent changes in the program also mean that there is going to be the increase in the processing time of up to 6 months for CSQ.


International graduates applying through the Quebec skilled worker program (PRTQ), a point based immigration stream, recieve scores for their education and experience from Quebec.


All the best!

About the author: Asif Jalal is working as an advisor to students for overseas education for the past 5 years. He is credited with having placed hundreds of students in different parts of the world. Besides, he is an aspiring writer who relishes writing blogs and poetry.

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