Canada is home to some of the best education and immigration options in the world.
The number of international students studying in Canada is over 640,000, a figure that is constantly growing.
Many of these students are choosing Canada because of the major advantages that studying in Canada can bring.
Individuals who study in Canada receive a top-quality and internationally-respected education, preparing them for professional pursuits in Canada or abroad.
Yet, the cost of tuition and living fees in Canada are generally lower than in other developed countries.
In addition, Canada allows you to work in the country during and after your studies so you can support yourself financially and gain professional work experience.
Canada also offers over 80 immigration (PR) pathways to international students who complete their studies and wish to remain in Canada permanently.
This is a significant benefit which international students cannot find in most other countries.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates for International Students
The Canadian government has stated it continues to aim to process new study permit applications in time for the start of the fall 2020 academic term. It has also made reforms to ensure that the Post-Graduation Work Permit eligibility of certain international students is not affected by COVID-19 disruptions. Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, international students may begin their program online at a Canadian designated learning institution in the fall of 2020 and still be eligible for a PGWP after completing their Canadian study program. Please visit our coronavirus FAQ page for more updates.
Benefits of Studying in Canada in Fall 2020
Canada is making it easier for international students to begin their Canadian immigration journey in the fall of 2020. Whether you wish to begin your program at a Canadian college or university in September, October, or November of 2020, you will be able to study online in your home country and still access the same benefits of being in Canada.
The reason for this is that Canada is allowing new international students to start their Canadian educational programs online this fall, and still be eligible to obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit after they complete their program. This is a temporary policy that aims to provide more flexibility to international students due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a student must not complete more than 50% of their Canadian program online if they wish to remain eligible for the PGWP. In other words, a student can start their program online because they can not arrive to Canada in time in fall 2020 due to coronavirus-related interruptions, however they must eventually come to Canada to access the PGWP.
The PGWP is important for international students that want to make their Canadian immigration applications more competitive. The combination of a Canadian education and Canadian work experience gained through the PGWP will enhance a student’s chances of obtaining Canadian permanent residence.
It is also advised that students in this situation arrive to Canada by December 31, 2020, if they want to maximize the length of their PGWP. The reason for this is that coming to Canada after this date will result in a shorter PGWP duration. The maximum length of time one can get a PGWP is three years. A longer PGWP duration provides students with more time to get the Canadian work experience that they need to become eligible for a range of federal and provincial immigration programs.
Hence, assuming that a student enrolls in a qualifying two-year program at a Canadian college or university or other designated learning institution this fall, they can start the program online, and get a full, three-year PGWP after completing their program as long as they come to Canada by December 31, 2020.
The benefits of beginning your Canadian immigration journey in fall 2020 include:
- Get peace of mind that you can start your Canadian program in your country even if you are unable to come to Canada in time because of a coronavirus interruption (e.g., lack of available flights).
- Canadian colleges and universities are currently making preparations to offer their programs online for the 2020-21 academic year.
- If you take a qualifying program at a Canadian designated learning institution (e.g., a college or university) of at least two years in duration, you can get a full, three-year Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP of this length will provide you with three years to get enough qualifying Canadian work experience to become eligible for more immigration programs.
- Beginning your program online can make studying in Canada even more affordable for you. Canada is already more affordable to study in than the likes of the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. This temporary PGWP policy enables you to save on several months of living costs in Canada while you remain in your home country.
- If you are like most study permit holders, you will be legally eligible to work in Canada for any employer as soon as you arrive to the country. Under the terms of most study permits, you can work for up to 20 hours per week during your program, and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks such as winter and summer breaks.
- Your spouse or partner is eligible to obtain an open work permit to work for any Canadian employer during and after you complete your studies. You can also bring your children with you to Canada and they can attend one of Canada’s public schools without needing their own study permit.
- Once you complete your program, you will get a Canadian degree, diploma, or other credential that will be recognized and respected by Canadian employers and government authorities. This credential will help you integrate into the Canadian labour market and gain more points under a variety of federal and provincial immigration programs.
- Pursuing Canadian studies will also help to enhance your English and/or French skills. Stronger language skills will support your economic and social integration in Canada and also help you obtain more points under Canada’s immigration programs.
About Canada’s Universities and Colleges
There are over 1,500 universities, colleges, and other educational institutions that are authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to welcome international students. These educational institutions are called designated learning institutions (DLIs) and they exist to help international students learn in Canada and stay in the country after graduation. The list of DLIs that are authorized by IRCC is constantly growing. Please verify that the university, college, or other institution you wish to enroll in is authorized by IRCC by visiting the Canadian government’s official website.
Ontario and Quebec are Canada’s largest provinces by population, and hence, they host the most number of DLIs in the country (nearly 1,000 combined).
Given the large number of DLIs across Canada, you are very likely to find an educational program that meets your needs.
If you wish to pursue undergraduate (i.e., Bachelors) or post-graduate studies (i.e., Master’s or PhD), Canada has some 100 universities, including internationally-renowned schools such as:
- Dalhousie University
- McGill University
- McMaster University
- Queen’s University
- Simon Fraser University
- University of Alberta
- University of British Columbia
- University of Calgary
- University of Montreal
- University of Ottawa
- University of Toronto
- University of Waterloo
Generally speaking, universities across Canada offer comparable levels of high-quality education. The reason for this is that Canada promotes equity within its education system, meaning that it strives to ensure all students get the best possible education possible, irrespective of which institution that they go to.
Canada also has some 150 community colleges which also offer good quality education. Whereas universities specialize in providing theoretical knowledge and career training in certain professions (e.g., medicine, engineering, law), community colleges offer more applied training to help students quickly integrate into the labour market. College programs are more practical, with the knowledge provided to students meant to help them find work within their area of study.
Just like universities, colleges across Canada tend to offer similar levels of education. International students should take comfort at studying at a Canadian college, since the credential that they gain will support their professional and immigration ambitions upon graduation.
If you want help finding the right program for you at a Canadian designated learning institution, whether it is a college, university, or other type of designated learning institution, please complete CanadaVisa’s Study Assessment Form so that we can assist you as soon as possible.
Study Pathways to Permanent Residence (PR)
International students who complete post-secondary education in Canada have many opportunities to extend their stay and ultimately transition to permanent residence.
Your education in Canada may put you at an advantage when it comes to pursuing Canadian permanent residence. Many federal and provincial immigration programs value candidates with Canadian education and work experience.
After completing your education in Canada, you can gain Canadian work experience by obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) which, depending on your Canadian academic program, may enable you to work in Canada for up to three years.
While holding a PGWP, you can then go ahead and pursue a number of federal and provincial permanent residence avenues, such as:
One of the most prominent ways of pursuing permanent residence is by submitting an Express Entry profile. Express Entry is the main way that Canada manages economic class immigration applications.
Express Entry candidates are assessed through the Comprehensive Ranking System. The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) rewards candidates who are young, have Canadian education and work experience, and strong English and/or French proficiency. These are characteristics that many of Canada’s international students possess, and hence, they can expect to achieve a higher CRS score.
Through Express Entry, former international students may be well-placed to be eligible for the popular Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, which enables tens of thousands of former international students and temporary foreign workers to become permanent residents each year.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows provinces and territories across Canada to identify immigration candidates who meet their local economic needs. Many PNP streams reward candidates who are former international students or are specifically dedicated to international students.
Quebec is Canada’s second largest province and the city of Montreal is a very popular destination for international students. The province operates its own immigration system with programs that are different from those offered by the federal government and under the PNP. Quebec also encourages former international students to transition to permanent residence. One of the notable ways it seeks to do this is through the Quebec Experience Program.
Other Federal Programs
In addition to the three programs it manages under Express Entry, the federal government operates additional economic class immigration programs. The programs offer special streams to international students and/or exemptions from Canadian work experience requirements. These include the Atlantic International Graduate Program (which operates under the Atlantic Immigration Pilot) and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.