Student wants to stay in Canada
Dear Ms Powell,
I am an international student in Ontario and my study permit expires this year. I am interested in a work permit so that I can stay in Canada. How can I get a work permit and ultimately remain in Canada indefinitely.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has a programme called the Post Graduate Work Permit Programme (PGWPP) which is to help international students gain valuable Canadian work experience after graduating from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution.
Under this programme, the length of time that will be granted for work permits will be based on the length of the programme from which you graduated. For example, if you graduate from a four-year degree programme, you could be eligible for a three-year work permit if you meet the requirements. If you graduated from an eight-month certificate programme, you would be eligible for a work permit that is valid for no more than eight months. If your programme is under eight months, you will not be eligible for a PGWP.
What are the key requirements?
1. Studied on a full-time basis.
2. Successfully completed a programme of study that lasted at least eight months from a participating college or university.
3. Your study permit must be valid at the time of application.
4. Application must be submitted within 90 days of completing your studies.
5. Submit a letter from your school to proof the duration of your study
Note that you will be considered ineligible if:
1. You came to Canada on a scholarship which bonds you to return to your home country;
2. Your study was funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), or Organisations of American States (OAS) Fellowship Programme and other similar organisations;
3. Have been previously issues a PGWP following another programme of study;
4. The of programme of study is less than 8 months long.
How to get permanent residence?
Once you have worked for a minimum of one year, you should take the next step to become a permanent resident. If you have gained skilled Canadian work experience as a result of working under the PGWPP you may apply for permanent residence in Canada through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).
The main requirement is a minimum of one year work experience in the last three years in Canada. You will also be required to provide proof that you meet the minimum language requirements according to your occupational skill level. You will therefore need to sit either English or French language examination to demonstrate your abilities in speaking, reading, listening and writing. You will be considered a better candidate if you are able to demonstrate proficiency in both languages.
Other key factors to bear in mind when submitting an application under the CEC are:
1. You must plan to live outside of the province of Quebec;
2. Demonstrate at least 12 months of continuous full time or equivalent part time skilled work experience;
3. Submit your application under the Express Entry system;
4. If you qualify you could get an invitation to apply for permanent residence and even get a job offer under this new system;
5. Pass medical and security checks;
6. You will be required to pay a processing fee.
You may also be eligible for permanent residence is you qualify under one of the Provincial Nominee Programmes.
If you are seriously considering the PGWP and applying for permanent residence, I suggest that you consult privately with an immigration lawyer to explore the various options open to you and to maximise your chances of success under the new system.
Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator and notary public who is a member of the Jamaican and Ontario, Canada bars, with main office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Her areas of practice are in Immigration, Real Estate, Commercial, Personal Injury, Family and Administration of Estates. She is on the roster of Mediators for Ottawa, Toronto and the Dispute Resolution Foundation of Jamaica.