Prime Pathways to Canadian PR: Top 5 Tips for International Students

Prime Pathways to Canadian PR: Top 5 Tips for International Students

Getting permanent residence (PR) in Canada is important for international students studying there. It’s a way for them to stay in Canada for the long term and eventually become citizens. PR offers lots of benefits and opportunities.

In this article, we will be discussing tips on how to get the Canadian PR as an international student.

Here are some tips on how international students can get Canadian PR:

1. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) allows international students to transition from temporary to permanent residency in Canada.

Getting a PGWP is important for international students because it lets them work in Canada and gain experience. This experience is often needed if they want to apply for permanent residency later, like through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in the Express Entry system.

Eligibility Criteria

Graduate from a designated learning institution (DLI): To be eligible for a PGWP, the program must be at least 8 months long and offered by a DLI.

Full-time student: Students must have maintained full-time status throughout their studies.

Apply within 180 days: Students must get their application within 180 days of graduation.

Valid immigration status: If applying from within Canada, students need valid immigration status.

Permit length: The PGWP lasts up to three years, based on the length of the study program and passport expiry (whichever comes first). There’s an exception for some Master’s degrees under two years (but at least eight months), which may qualify for a 3-year PGWP.

Role in PR Process

The PGWP plays a crucial role in the permanent residency process by allowing students to accumulate Canadian work experience. This experience enhances their eligibility for permanent residency and increases their chances of successfully immigrating to Canada. Therefore, obtaining a PGWP is essential for international students looking to establish their careers and future in Canada.

2. Express Entry System

Express Entry is a system Canada uses to pick skilled workers who want to live and work in Canada. It started in 2015 to make the selection of immigrants easier. People who can apply for Express Entry are ranked based on different factors, like their skills and experience. Those with the best scores get invited to apply for permanent residency.

Benefits for International Students

A straightforward path to permanent residency: Express Entry offers a clear way for international students who studied in Canada to get permanent residency. Students can leverage their Canadian education and work experience to boost their chances of being invited to apply.

More points for Canadian graduates: International students with a Canadian diploma or degree get extra points in the Express Entry system, making their application more competitive.

Recent Change for Canadian Post-Secondary Graduates

Starting September 2024: Students in programs offered through private colleges under public college curriculums (licensing agreements) will no longer qualify for work permits after graduation. These programs have grown quickly but lack the same oversight as public colleges.

Good news for Master’s students: They can now apply for 3-year work permits! Before, the permit length matched the study program length, limiting work experience for Master’s grads.

Changes for spouses: Soon, only spouses of Master’s and PhD students will be eligible for open work permits. Spouses of students in other programs (undergrad, college) will no longer qualify.

Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) and Its Relevance

The Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) ranks candidates in the Express Entry pool. It evaluates eligible applicants by considering factors like education, age, work experience, language proficiency, and adaptability. The CRS score helps rank people in the group to see who might get invited to apply for permanent residency.

The CRS is important for international students because it helps them know their eligibility for immigration to Canada. Knowing how the CRS works and what affects their score can help international students plan to improve their chances in the Express Entry system.

3. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) is a federal immigration program designed to facilitate the transition of skilled workers who have gained valuable Canadian work experience to permanent residency. It’s part of the Express Entry system and gives a direct route to PR for people who qualify.

One-Year Skilled Work Requirement after Graduation

To qualify for the CEC program, you need to have worked in a skilled job in Canada for at least one year. This work must have been done within the three years before you apply for permanent residency.

TEER which stands for Training, Education, Experience, and Responsibilities is a system used in Canada to categorize occupations based on the required skill level. This categorization is important for Canadian immigration, specifically the Express Entry system.

Here’s a breakdown of TEER categories and their importance for immigration:

TEER Levels (0, 1, 2, 3): These are considered high-skilled occupations and are generally eligible for Express Entry programs like the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, and some occupations under the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

TEER Levels (4, 5): These are considered low-skilled occupations and typically don’t qualify independently for Express Entry.

Language Proficiency Requirements

To be eligible for the CEC program, you need to be good at speaking either English or French. You have to prove your language skills by taking an accepted test. The required language proficiency level varies depending on the skill level of the occupation in which the applicant gained their Canadian work experience.

A higher language proficiency level (Canadian Language Benchmark 7 or higher) is required for occupations classified as TEER 0 or 1, while a slightly lower proficiency level (Canadian Language Benchmark 5 or higher) suffices for TEER 2 or 3 occupations.

Advantages of CEC for Students and Graduates

Fast track to PR: The CEC program lets international students and graduates with Canadian work experience apply for permanent residency directly, skipping the need for a job offer. This makes the process smoother, especially for those with valuable Canadian experience.

Leverage your PGWP experience: If you have a PGWP and gained work experience in Canada after graduation, you can use that experience to qualify for CEC. Meeting the one-year skilled work requirement and showing language skills strengthens the chances of permanent residency through CEC.

Build a future in Canada: Overall, the CEC program provides a clear and appealing path for international students and graduates to become permanent residents, allowing them to stay and build their careers in Canada.

4. Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) are ways for different provinces and territories in Canada to pick people to become permanent residents. They choose candidates based on what their area needs for jobs and people.

PNPs help the federal immigration system by dealing with each region’s job needs and helping them grow economically.

Consideration of Canadian Education and Work Experience

PNPs often favour candidates with Canadian education and work experience.

Many provinces have specific streams or categories within their PNPs that prioritize candidates with ties to the province, such as graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions or individuals who have gained work experience there.

Having Canadian education and work experience can enhance a candidate’s eligibility for nomination through a PNP and increase their chances of successfully obtaining permanent residency.

Provinces with Favorable PNP Streams for Graduates

Several provinces in Canada offer favorable PNP streams for international students and graduates. For example, Ontario has the International Student Stream, which allows graduates of eligible Canadian post-secondary institutions to apply for nomination if they have a job offer from an Ontario employer.

Similarly, British Columbia offers the International Graduate stream, targeting graduates of Canadian institutions who have obtained a job offer in a high-demand occupation in the province.

Other provinces, such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia, have specific streams or categories within their PNPs tailored to international graduates. These streams often prioritize candidates with Canadian education and work experience, making them attractive options for graduates seeking permanent residency in Canada.

Overall, PNPs provide additional pathways to permanent residency for international students and graduates, allowing them to leverage their Canadian education and work experience to establish themselves in various provinces and territories across Canada. By exploring PNP options, graduates can enhance their chances of achieving their goal of becoming permanent residents of Canada.

5. Business Investor Programs

If you’re an international student and want to start a business in Canada, check out programs like the Start-Up Visa Program or provincial business streams.

These programs aim to encourage investment and job creation in Canada and can provide valuable support and resources to help you get started. With its supportive business environment, diverse economy, and highly skilled workforce, Canada can be a great place to start or grow a business.

Tips for a Successful PR Application for International Students

Preparing a Strong PR Application
Ensure all required documents are accurate, complete, and organized. Double-check application forms and supporting materials before submission. Highlight relevant education, work experience, and language proficiency to strengthen your candidacy.

Document Requirements
Gather essential documents such as identification, educational credentials, employment records, and language test results. Follow guidelines provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regarding document format, translation, and certification.

Medical Exams and Police Clearances
Undergo medical examinations from designated physicians and obtain police clearance certificates from all countries where you have lived for six months or more since you were 18. Adhere to specific requirements outlined by IRCC to ensure timely application processing.

Seeking Professional Guidance
Consider consulting with an authorized immigration consultant for personalized advice and assistance throughout the application process. Professionals can offer insights, address concerns, and navigate complexities, increasing your chances of a successful PR application. You can reach out to us at Kisha Immigration.


For international students who’ve finished their studies, becoming a permanent resident in Canada is doable. There are ways like the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), Express Entry, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that students can use to start their journey towards PR and citizenship.

With good preparation and help, international students can make a good life in Canada, enjoying all the advantages of living and working in this diverse and friendly country.

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