Canada is home to some of the world's best education and immigration options. This comprehensive page provides you with everything you need to know on how you can study in Canada, work, and immigrate.
1️⃣ Select a program:
Conduct research and find the education program you want to pursue in Canada.
2️⃣ Apply to a Canadian designated learning institution:
Once you have determined which education program to apply to, submit your application to the Canadian designated learning institution(DLI) of your choice.
3️⃣ Apply for a study permit:
Upon obtaining a letter of acceptance, you submit an application to the Government of Canada for a study permit. The study permit is a document that most people need so they can legally remain in Canada as a student.
4️⃣ Explore your immigration options:
After completing your studies, try to gain more professional work experience and pursue your permanent residence.
🍀 Benefits of Studying in Canada
Canada has made it easier for international students to begin their Canadian immigration journey. Whether you wish to begin your program at a Canadian college or university, 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, 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 can complete up their entire Canadian program online and remain eligible for 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.
Hence, assuming that a student is currently enrolled in a qualifying two-year program at a Canadian college or university or other designated learning institution, they can get a full, three-year PGWP after completing their program as long as they complete 50 per cent of their program in Canada.
The benefits of beginning your Canadian immigration journey 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 offering 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 credentials 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 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.
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.