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How to Convert from a Canadian Student Visa to a Permanent Resident (PR)

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A Comprehensive Guide from Canadian Student Visa to PR

This topic gets a lot of interest from individuals and families seeking to move abroad, especially Canada. Going through the study route to Canada is one of the fastest ways of immigrating to Canada. However, the concern if you are considering relocating to Canada through the student route is…

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How do I convert from a Canadian student visa to a permanent resident?

This article provides a comprehensive guide on how international students can successfully navigate this transition, ensuring a smooth and informed process.

Canada is renowned for its high-quality education and diverse opportunities, attracting students from around the globe. For those aspiring to make Canada their long-term home, the transition from a Canadian student visa to permanent residency (PR) is a well-established and often pursued path.

First, let’s explore Canada’s immigration programs.

Understanding Canadian Immigration Programs

Canada offers several immigration programs through which individuals can apply for permanent residency.

The most popular among students is the Express Entry system, which includes the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP).

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is another avenue, that allows provinces and territories to nominate individuals for PR based on their specific needs.

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Canadian Student Visa to a Permanent Resident

Let’s look at the three notable Canadian Immigration Programs:

1. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class is particularly advantageous for those who have completed their studies in Canada.

To be eligible, individuals must have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada within three years of obtaining their degree or diploma.

Additionally, proficiency in English or French is a requirement, as language skills are a crucial factor in the CEC point system.

2. Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

For those who wish to transition to PR immediately after completing their studies, the Federal Skilled Worker Program is a suitable option.

Applicants need to meet minimum requirements related to language proficiency, education, work experience, and adaptability. A completed Canadian credential, such as a post-secondary degree, adds significant points to the application.

3. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

The Provincial Nominee Program is a pathway for students who have studied in a specific province and wish to settle there permanently.

Each province has its own PNP streams, often designed to meet local labor market needs. Eligibility criteria may include factors such as work experience, job offers, and ties to the province.

Successfully obtaining a provincial nomination significantly enhances an applicant’s chances in the Express Entry system. So this is a pathway worth considering.

Steps to Transition from Student Visa to Permanent Residency:

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1. Complete Your Studies Successfully:

Before embarking on the journey to permanent residency, ensure that you complete your studies successfully. This lays the foundation for a strong application, as Canadian credentials are highly valued in the immigration process.

There are several cases where students abandon their studies for work or some other endeavor, this jeopardizes the process.  

During regular school semesters, students are capped at 20 hours per week for work. You however can work more jobs to make up these hours as long as you continue to meet the provisions of your study permit.

Canadian Student Visa to a Permanent Resident (PR)

Source: Students walk along the mail mall at UBC in Vancouver, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Last November, the government of Canada removed the cap on the number of hours international students can work to address labor shortages in Canada.  This will be for a short time as the project is set to expire in December 2023 which means international students will once again be limited to working 20 hours per week starting next year.

This arose on the fallback of inflationary pressure globally and in Canada. The annual inflation in Canada at 3.1% cooling off though, but the cost of living is still on the rise. Gas prices, groceries, and rent are shrinking household income necessitating the need for this palliative measure.

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SEE ALSO: 8 Ways  to Maximize Your Chances of Landing a Job in Canada

2. Apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The PGWP allows recent graduates to work in Canada for up to three years after completing their studies. This work experience is valuable for meeting the eligibility criteria of various PR programs.

You will be required to provide a letter explaining your reasons for this, which is a good way to describe your unique situation or include additional documents.

The purpose of your application should be clear and precise. Document anything that the officer might find useful. Add supporting documents, screenshots, or any other proof to support your explanation.

3. Gain Canadian Work Experience:

While holding a PGWP, obtain skilled work experience in Canada. The Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker Program give preference to individuals with Canadian work experience.

Being a student gives you ample opportunity to get Canadian work experience.  Volunteering is another way to get this experience. So do not wait to graduate to gather some experience that will be valuable in your resume during your job search.

SEE ALSO: 10 Valuable Skills You Need To Learn Before Moving To Canada

4. Improve Language Proficiency

Canadian Student Visa to a Permanent Resident (PR)

Language proficiency is a crucial factor in the Express Entry system. Consider taking language tests such as IELTS or CELPIP to improve your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. There are many centers closest to you where you can get training for this test. Search for “IELTS test centers near me” and you will get options.

5. Explore Provincial Nominee Programs

Research and identify Provincial Nominee Programs aligned with your goals and qualifications. Many provinces have streams specifically designed for graduates or individuals with work experience in their region. Provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba do PNP draws frequently, so you need to set up a profile and try.

6. Create an Express Entry Profile

Once you meet the eligibility criteria, create an Express Entry profile. The system ranks candidates based on the CRS, considering factors like age, education, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability.

7. Submit Express Entry Application

Regularly monitor Express Entry draws and submit your application when you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Ensure all required documents are prepared and submitted accurately. To create a profile check the IRCC site.

8. Apply for Permanent Residency

If successful in the Express Entry draw, submit your application for permanent residency within the stipulated time. Be thorough in providing all necessary documentation to avoid delays.

9. Undergo Medical Examinations and Security Checks

As part of the PR application process, undergo medical examinations and security background checks. Ensure compliance with all requirements to facilitate a smooth processing period.

10. Await PR Confirmation

Once your application is submitted, patiently await the confirmation of your permanent residency. This process may take several months, and it is essential to stay informed about your application status.

SEE ALSO: 9 Best Loan Apps in Canada with low-interest Rates in 2023

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Final Thoughts

Transitioning from a Canadian student visa to permanent residency is an achievable goal for international students seeking a long-term future in Canada.

By understanding the available immigration programs, diligently following the necessary steps, and staying informed about eligibility criteria, applicants can navigate this journey successfully.

The diverse pathways provided by Canada reflect the country’s commitment to attracting and retaining skilled individuals who contribute to its vibrant and multicultural society.