How to immigrate to Canada as an international student

One of the many ways to migrate legally to Canada is to come as an international student. The advantages of this path are its quickness and the increased chances of obtaining permanent residence.

Canada is currently the top study abroad destination, according to several surveys, due to its highly ranked universities, the quality of education, affordability compared to U.S, U.K, or Australia universities, and the opportunity to gain work experience and later become a permanent resident.

But the international student program is not for everyone. The key factor in taking this path is having the required money, that is the funds to pay for the studies and to support yourself and/or your family in Canada during one year.

The second requirement is to be able to speak English. If you don’t speak English or you need to improve your level of English to be able to enroll in a university or college, you can study English in Canada, although that means you’ll have to have more money in savings.

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Some people may think that to be able to study in Canada and to later apply for permanent residence, one would have to study a whole undergraduate or postgraduate program, but this isn’t the case. You can study a professional course that lasts a minimum of 8 months.

How does this program work?

First, you have to choose the course you want to study. Perhaps you think it would be ideal to study one specialization in your career. In that case then, you should make sure that you find one that lasts at least 8 months.

Second, you have to choose and find a college or university where you’d like to study. It has to be a Designated learning institution (DLI). Not all colleges are DLI. Check out the list of DLIs here:

You’ll need to find an institution that offers the program you want to study and whose tuition fees are affordable . You might want to research the job market to make sure the course you study helps you increase your chances of finding your dream job.

Third, you have to contact the college or university that interests you and ask for admission. You’ll have to prove that your English is good enough to pursue the chosen program or course.

If not, some institutions offer a course of English for you to bring up your level of knowledge of the language. After you finish studying English you can start the professional course.

Fourth, once you have finished the professional course, you’re able to ask for a work permit for the duration of your professional studies. The English studies don’t count.

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If you study one year, you can have a work permit for one year, then you’ll have Canadian work experience, and you’ll increase your chances of getting permanent residence.

What do you need to apply for an international student visa?

You need to provide three documents:

· Letter of acceptance from the institution you’re going to attend to pursue your studies.

Sometimes the institution you choose may give you conditional acceptance, which means you need to study prerequisite courses, English for example. In that case you’ll get a study permit for the length of those studies plus one year.

Once you finish studying English and are ready to start the main program (the professional one) you have to ask for a new study permit.

Any language studies don’t count for the permanent residence application. Only a professional course of a minimum of 8 months in length.

· Proof of identity (passport)

You have to present a valid passport.

· Proof of financial support

The main question people ask when planning to study in Canada is how much money will I need.

According to Canadian requirements the minimum funds an international student plus two family members must prove they have to study in any Canadian province, except Quebec, is 17,000 Canadian dollars for one year. This amount is to support the student and his family, and it doesn’t include tuition and other school fees.

A family of four will need 20,000 dollars to support itself during one year, and a family of 5 people, 23,000 dollars. The cost of the studies can be up to another 20,000 dollars per year.

To study in Quebec, a student with two family members must prove they have funds of 21,225 dollars, not including tuition and fees.

Check out this link about the funds needed to study in Canada:

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How to apply

You can apply online, which is the recommended way during the pandemic. You must have a scanner or camera to make electronic copies of your documents, and a valid credit or debit card.

You’ll have to fill out all the PDF forms accurately and you have to provide all the necessary documents. If one is missing, your application could be returned to you, refused, or the processing of your application might be delayed.

The fee to pay for a study permit is 150 dollars, while your biometrics fee is 85 dollars per person. If you come with your family, the fee is 170 dollars, for two or more people of the same family.

You may also have to pay other fees to third parties like for a medical exam, and police certificate, if required.

The application processing time depends on various factors, but the truth is that the pandemic makes the process longer than normal.

When your application is approved

When you are allowed to come to Canada as an international student, your spouse gets an immediate work permit, and you can work part-time (20 hours a week) off campus, during regular academic sessions, as long as you’re a full-time student enrolled in a professional program of at least 6 months length.

You can work full-time only during scheduled breaks, like in the summer. Disregarding this rule might create the risk you could lose your study permit and be invited to leave Canada.

An international student can also work in a Co-op program (internship) if the work experience is essential as part of the professional training program offered by the college or university.  In that case, the student will need a co-op work permit.

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After your studies

When you finish your studies you have 90 days to prepare to leave Canada, or to apply for an extension of your stay. You can do this by applying for a Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) and you’ll get one for the same amount of time that your studies lasted.

With studies in Canada and Canadian work experience, your chances of getting permanent residence status are boosted. You’ll have evident advantages (more points) over other candidates who submitted their applications.

This is the way how coming to Canada as an international student can be the bridge to reach the dreamed-for permanent residence. What are your thoughts? Would you recommend this path to a potential immigrant? Did you study in Canada as an international student? Please share your thoughts. Take care.

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