Immigration Corner | Farm worker wants to go to school in Canada
Dear Ms Powell,
I am a farm worker in Ontario, and I am really trying to upgrade my skills. I want to do a trade certificate and get qualified to work as a landscaper, technician, or something in construction. Can you tell me what I need to do to get a visa to study in Canada? Can I get a work permit so that I can work part time with the company that I work with while I go to school? Would that help me to get to live as a citizen in Canada? Thanks for your help.
I am pleased to hear that you are interested in upgrading your education and skills to be more marketable in Canada. There is a genuine shortage of skilled tradesmen in Canada, and so the government of Canada and the provinces have various programmes available for tradesmen to become permanent residents, and later, citizens, provided that they qualify.
There are several colleges in Canada to which you may apply to study to become a certified tradesman. Since you are in Ontario, I would recommend that you visit the website www.ontariocolleges.ca to see a list of colleges that offer courses in landscaping, construction, and to be a technician in various trades.
Consider looking at colleges such as Algonquin, Canadore, Confe-deration, Fanshawe, St Lawrence, and St Clair, to name a few. You may also look at the individual schools' website to get more information on how to qualify to do a certificate or diploma at a college. Better yet, since you are currently in Canada, you should book a tour of the schools that you are interested in and meet with an admissions adviser to get additional information.
If the process seems overwhelming or challenging, you may consider meeting with a Canadian immigration lawyer, who can provide you with details of the advantages and disadvantages of each school, advise you about the various schools and courses, and provide you with a guideline of the budget that you need to have and the detailed application process in order to achieve your long-term goals.
Steps to Qualify
There are many options available to you. However, this will require dedication and commitment to work to achieve your long-term goals. The first step is to apply to the particular college to get an acceptance letter to pursue the course that you are interested in.
You did not state your age or educational background. However, each school has its own admissions procedure that you must follow. Most colleges require you to have successfully completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school diploma in order to qualify. For most schools, you need to provide proof of a minimum of five subjects at the General Certificate of Education, Caribbean Examinations Council or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam level. One of the required subjects is English.
Some schools also require that an international applicant provide proof of subject-specific requirements, based on the course you which to pursue. So the first step is to provide certified copies of your transcripts or subjects and you may also be required to provide proof of language proficiency.
If you do not have the above credentials to qualify, most schools have academic advisers who can meet with you to advise you on how best to achieve your goals. If you are a mature student with several years' experience in the particular field, there could be other options available to you.
There is also the option of undertaking 'academic upgrading', whereby you can earn an academic and career entrance certificate or study the courses that you need to meet the requirements for college entrance. I strongly recommend that you meet with an immigration lawyer or academic adviser to ensure that you are able to qualify. You will also need to pay attention to the schools' application deadline and the fact that it could take approximately two-three months for your study permit to be approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Once you have received an acceptance letter, the next step would be to submit an application to IRCC, while you are in Canada, to Change Conditions, Extend Stay, or Remain in Canada as a Student. You will be required to pay the application fee and submit the application forms, along with all other supporting documents to the Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alberta.
Be prepared to submit substantial proof of your ability to support yourself in school for the period of your studies. That includes proof of your ability to pay your tuition fees, books, training supplies, and equipment, plus living expenses for the entire period of study. You cannot rely on income you hope to earn as a part-time worker alone. You will also need to provide a copy of your birth certificate, passport, marriage certificate, certificate and transcripts from previous schools, and a photocopy of your Canadian visa and permits.
If you would like to become a permanent resident to stay permanently in Canada, you must submit the relevant application to become a permanent resident within the specified time. For additional information about study permit or temporary and permanent residence application, consult with an immigration lawyer to advise you of your options and how best to achieve your long-term goals for you and your family.
- Deidre S. Powell is a lawyer, mediator, and notary public with office in Ottawa, Ontario. Submit your questions and comments to: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject line: Immigration. Tel: 613-695-8777. Find her on Facebook: jamaicanlawyer