Canadian Student Immigration


By: Winnie J Luk
Translation: Andrea Lau

Foreign post-secondary students in Canada may be interested in living and working in Canada after completing their studies. Generally, such foreign students who have graduated and went on to obtain skilled work experience in Canada may be in a good position to move from temporary to permanent residence.
Immigration Categories

There are a few ways that foreign students may consider to transform their study permit into a Permanent Resident (PR) Card:

  • Canadian Experience Class
  • Provincial Nominee Programs
  • Federal Skilled Worker program for Candidates pursuing a PhD in Canada

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class is the most common track for foreign students to obtain citizenship and generally requires at least twelve months of full-time (or an equal amount in part-time) skilled work experience in Canada in the three years before applying. To determine whether the employment qualifies as skilled work, it is prudent to check that the job belongs to National Occupational Classification types of 0 (zero), A, or B.

The two other listed immigration categories above offer a faster track to immigration yet have stricter requirements.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Under the Provincial Nominee Programs, the applicant must be offered employment in a managerial, professional or skilled trade occupation that is “sponsored” by the employer. The Employer must apply to Opportunities Ontario to obtain a Nominee Application package for the applicant. In Ontario approximately 1300 Nominee Application package are approved for 2013.

Federal Skilled Worker program for Candidates pursuing a PhD in Canada

Under the PhD group of the Federal Skilled Worker program, the applicant must have completed two years of study towards a PhD or graduated no more than 12 months before the date of applying and at least one year of skilled work experience defined above. In Canada, only 1000 PhD applicants in Canada are approved per year under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

Before applying for Permanent Residency

If the applicant is a study permit holder currently completing post-secondary education and wishes to obtain permanent residency, it is prudent to apply for a Post-Graduation permit within 90 days of obtaining the academic transcript. A Post-Graduation Work Permit may be valid for the length of the applicants program of study and only for a maximum of three years. For example, students graduating from a four-year degree program might be eligible for a three-year year work permit. Students graduating from an eight-month certificate program would only be eligible for a work permit of eight months.

Once PR status is obtained, the applicant may generally be eligible for citizenship after residing in Canada for the next three years and studying for and passing the Citizenship Test.

Please note that the above information is current at the time of publication and official information on Canadian immigration procedures are subject to change periodically. For up-to-date information on the procedures applicable to your application, you may contact me for a consultation.

The law firm Winnie J Luk Professional Corporation would be pleased to assist you with your Canadian immigration application and provide Canadian immigration consultation services.

Disclaimer: This article does not contain legal advice and only provides general information. It is not intended to replace advice from a qualified legal professional and should not be relied upon to make decisions. In all cases, contact your legal professional for advice on any matter referenced in this article before making decisions. Use of this article does not establish a lawyer-client relationship.

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Winnie J Luk, BA, JD, MBA, founder of Landmark Law, is a seasoned Ontario lawyer practicing in Wills and Estates, Real Estate, and Business Law and frequent speaker of free legal education seminar.