Studying in Canada can be the first step on the road to Canadian immigration.  If you are thinking of studying in Canada however, you will want to plan well ahead of time.  It is important to consider eligibility requirements, whether you will need or want to work during your stay, accompanying family and their needs, and your ultimate immigration plan.

Eligibility

To apply for a study permit, a person must:

  • have a letter of acceptance from a qualifying school in Canada;
  • have enough funds to pay for living expenses;
  • undergo a medical exam (unless exempted); and
  • prove that he or she is a genuine student.

Many applicants are rejected because of doubt over whether the individual is a genuine applicant. Visa officers must also be satisfied that the student will leave Canada after the authorized period of stay.

Working in Canada

Students can usually work without a work permit on the university or college campus where they are studying full time.

Students studying full time in a qualifying school and who hold a valid study permit may also be able to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular study and more than that during scheduled breaks.

For graduates of qualifying Canadian schools, you may be eligible for an open work permit called a Post Graduation Work Permit for up to 3 years, depending on your program of study and duration of study.  This is a 1-time Work Permit regardless of whether you graduate from more than 1 program in Canada, and there are also strict time limits for applying.

Coordinating Plans for your Family

If Spouses and common law partners of students may be eligible to apply for an open work permit or study permit based on the student’s study permit.  After graduation, spouses and common law partners may also be eligible for an open work permit based upon the Post Graduation Work Permit if the graduate is working in a high skilled, full time job.

Achieving Your Overall Immigration Plan

The reality is that only a small percentage of Canada’s international students ever immigrate to Canada and the competition is fierce. Plans can be derailed early if a person fails to attend a program and school that would allow them to work while studying, obtain a spousal or common law partner Work Permit, or obtain a Post Graduation work permit.

Permanent residence options for students can range from Family Sponsorship to immigration as a Skilled Worker. For immigration as a Skilled Worker, it is critical for students to plan early so that they can make themselves a strong candidate for 1 or more of the Skilled Worker programs.