Many foreign students relocate to Canada with the intention of studying, but they also hope to work there and possibly settle there permanently.
About 60% of international students, according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), intend to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Many students are already aware that the length of their post-graduate work permit (PGWP) in Canada depends on how long they study there. The PGWP enables foreign students to work in Canada following their studies in order to gain the essential work experience for their profession and applications for permanent residency.
A one-year program will grant you a one-year post-graduate work permit (PGWP), and a two-year academic program will grant you a PGWP that can last up to three years.
Let’s now discuss some other topics!
You must figure out how to become a permanent resident prior to the one-year PGWP expiration if you complete a one-year program and wish to obtain permanent residence status in order to live permanently in Canada. In Canada, there are various paths to permanent residency, each with a particular set of qualifications.
For many students, the one-year PGWP period represents a race against time, particularly those who must work in Canada for at least a year in order to qualify for permanent residency.
However, some students have attempted this in the past with success and were able to at least file a complete application for permanent residence prior to the expiration of the one-year work visa.
But to accomplish this, you must plan carefully!
1. The Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP) Option
Knowing your possibilities for permanent residency in advance is important for your planning, as is making sure your permanent residence application is complete before the PGWP’s one-year deadline. In the event that you are successful in doing so, you can next apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), which enables you to carry on working up until a decision is made about your request for permanent residency.
Keep in mind that your PGWP can only be obtained once in your lifetime, however the BOWP will permit you to continue working while your application for permanent residency is being reviewed. Keep in mind that you must have submitted a complete application for permanent residence (so it is not just expressing interest or setting up a permanent residence profile that makes you eligible for the BOWP).
Many students who are able to submit a full permanent residence application within the one-year time frame of their PGWP either obtained employment prior to or after completing their programs and began working when they applied for PGWP, or they only required the Canadian Degree to gain additional points for other permanent residence programs like Express Entry.
Or they targeted different permanent resident schemes, like:
As a result, they can apply for a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), as described above, or another type of work permit to continue living and working in Canada until a decision is made on their application for permanent residence. This enables them to meet the requirements of a permanent residence program early enough.
Additionally, it is advised that students enrolled in one-year programs think about attending school in a province with student nominee programs that don’t demand a full year of Canadian work experience.
For instance, in the province of Saskatchewan, receiving a student nomination for permanent residence only requires six months of post-study work experience. Consider this, or know your other options, if you are the kind of student who might require a nomination to improve your chances of becoming a permanent resident. Plan ahead!
2. The Second Program Option
You also have the choice of enrolling in a second program for an additional year if you consider your options and decide that it will be too challenging to complete and obtain your permanent residency with your one-year post-graduate work permit (after the first program).
With this, you can combine both programs to obtain a work permit valid for up to three years.
You MUST COMPLETE THE SECOND PROGRAM PRIOR TO APPLYING FOR PGWP. In Canada, this is referred to as “1+1 study.”
Anywhere in Canada can participate in the second program. It might be a different school or a different city or province. You are good to go as long as it is a DLI that is also qualified for PGWP.
To enroll in the second program, you will also need to extend your study permit. To extend your study permit, you also need other documents and proof of funds. The good news is that since you will be applying from within Canada, obtaining a study permit extension is simpler.
3. The Post PGWP Option
The choices available to you if you obtained a one-year PGWP but did not apply for permanent residency or at least a Bridging Open Work Permit (BOWP), are as follows:
- Re-enroll in classes and obtain a new study permit (however, you won’t be eligible for another PGWP after that).
- Seek employment or an employer who will sponsor you for a separate work permit.
- Must have a spouse or partner who is a citizen or permanent resident sponsor you for permanent residence.
- Request a visitor record to keep your status current (you cannot work legally with this, but can remain in Canada legally to explore your PR options).
You will have to leave Canada if you don’t!
Last but not least, news has come out that Canada is planning a new permanent residence program for foreign students, graduates, and visitors. Although this has not yet been officially confirmed, many students will benefit if it does and the curriculum is made available.