From being an international student to becoming a Canadian citizen

According to the IRCC, Canada was host to 572,415 international students in 2018. That is an increase of 16.25% last year and a third consecutive year of double-digit growth. An overall increase was 73% in the five years since 2014.

Click here to read more about the top 20 countries that are the main exporters of international students

When it comes to immigration, thereʼs no single formula that works for everyone. It is essential to do thorough due diligence and seek legal advice, if necessary, before taking steps in immigrating to Canada. 

Some helpful tips

English-speaking provinces, such as Ontario or British Columbia, tend to attract international students to reputable universities, such as the University of Toronto or the University of British Columbia. Furthermore, Quebec proves to be an attractive destination for students from all over the world, not only due to the Provinceʼs bilingual dynamic but also as a result of its reasonably affordable education, even for international students.

International students that pursue an education in Canada are perfect candidates for immigration to Canada due to their Canadian credentials, their proficiency in English and/or French and their Canadian work experience (if available). It is important for such perfect candidates to have a thorough immigration strategy when embarking on the route to becoming a permanent resident and ultimately a citizen of Canada. That strategy begins with the preparation of application packages for Canadian universities.

Canadian immigration policies are designed to attract international students to the country with the ultimate goal of retaining as many highly skilled individuals as possible. However, it is crucial to comply with all immigration laws and regulations pertaining to your specific situation.

Before applying to Canadian universities to advance your education and possibly settle in Canada, there are a few questions you should ask yourself. The first inquiry begins with determining your end goal. Even if you have not already decided what you would like to do after your graduation, it is preferable to give yourself options and to have an immigration strategy in place. It is essential that you know how you would like to approach your immigration to Canada and an experienced immigration lawyer can help you tackle this issue.

Strategize from the Beginning

According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education, 51% of current international students plan to apply for permanent residence.

Once you have made the decision that you would like to pursue your post-secondary education in Canada, considering all of the great things this beautiful country has to offer, it is important to choose a type of school/university which will later allow you to qualify for a post-graduation work permit.

In order to be granted a study permit, you generally need to have been accepted at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI), have sufficient funds to support yourself for the duration of your studies, be admissible to Canada and leave Canada at the end of your studies. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides potential students with a list of all Designated Learning Institutions in Canada on its website. In addition to choosing the right DLI, you also need to choose the right program as not all programs at DLIs allow their graduates to obtain post-graduation work permits.

Obtaining Canadian work experience is an essential element which will allow you to qualify for permanent residence later on in the process. Students might encounter problems in their attempt to find suitable employment due to their lack of Canadian work experience. Therefore, it is important to consider that certain international students may be eligible to work off-campus for up to 20 hours during the academic session, as long as they maintain their full-time status. This might help them gain the Canadian work experience they need for further immigration purposes but also improve their chances in the Canadian job market.

Get your Post-Graduation Work Permit

In order to obtain a post-graduation work permit, you need to be 18 years old or older when you apply, have continuously studied full-time in Canada in a study program which is at least eight months long, have a document from your school attesting to the fact that you graduated from a qualifying institution, apply for a work permit within 180 days of when it was confirmed that you completed your program of study. The validity of your post-graduation work permit depends on the duration of your studies.

Apply under the Canadian Experience Class

After having accumulated one year of Canadian work experience, you may be eligible to apply for a Permanent Residency through Express Entry under the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) provided that you have obtained at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Canada in the last three years before your application. You have to have worked full-time or an equal amount of time working part-time, gained sufficient work experience in Canada with the proper authorization, meet the required language levels needed for a job for each language ability (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and plan to live outside of Quebec.

Self-employment and work experience gained as a full-time student (such as on a co-op work term) do not count under the CEC.

Becoming a Proud Canadian

Once you have acquired the required number of days spent in Canada as a permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship. It is always wise to verify the restrictions of your country of nationality concerning obtaining dual citizenship before applying for Canadian citizenship.

Canada welcomes and supports diversity. If you wish to be a part of this diverse Canadian fabric, take the right steps and the right support from professionals. At Sobirovs Law Firm, we are proud to have united with Canadian society as our multilingual team come from different corners of the world, bringing our own culture and dedication to our new home - Canada. We are always ready to support you in your similar endeavours.