Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Immigration Corner | What options do I have to get residency?

Published:Tuesday | April 19, 2022 | 12:08 AM

Dear Ms Powell,

I have a master’s degree and I’m thinking of doing my PhD in Canada. However, when I checked the cost, I found out that it is much cheaper to attend school as a resident. I’m 36 years old, so I checked with an agent to find the best option to be a resident, and he told me that the only way for me is to go to school. I am now writing to you to find out if this is true. I have cousins in Ontario and I wanted to attend a university in Ontario. What other options do I have to get residency? Can I apply to the province of Ontario for them to nominate me?


Dear LL,

Over the years, many individuals have opted to study in Canada as a pathway to permanent residence in Canada. While it is a viable option for individuals who have a genuine interest in furthering their education, it can be costly to study in Canada as an international student.

The cost for an international student depends on the programme of study and the cost of living in the particular area where you choose to live. Ontario is one of the most popular and populated provinces, and so your cost of living there is usually higher than provinces such as Nova Scotia and Manitoba, for example.

If you are thinking of studying in Canada as an international student, you should ensure that you have your tuition fees and living expenses before applying for a study permit, as Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada will need proof that you can afford to pursue your studies in its entirety. The average cost of pursuing studies is approximately CDN$25,000 per year. So you will need to provide proof of savings, or a letter from a sponsor or scholarship provider clearly demonstrating that you have, or will have, the resources to cover the cost.


There is a high demand for highly skilled and educated persons in Canada, and it appears that you would fall under this category. You did not elaborate on your area of study, occupation or work experience. However, based on the information you provided, you could qualify to live permanently in Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, and may also be able to submit an expression of interest to the province of Ontario, provided that you are able to qualify under one of the streams that are open.

I strongly recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to discuss your options. I will outline a few things to take into consideration. Based on the information provided, if you are single with over three years work experience in an approved occupation, you could get a comprehensive ranking system score of approximately 443 points, if you are able to score well on your International English Language Testing System, General Training Examination.

If you qualify, you may apply to the province of Ontario. If you received a provincial nomination, you could get an additional score of 600 under the express entry, giving you a Comprehensive Ranking System grand total of 1,043. This would make you a prime candidate to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence.

The key is to ensure that you have all the necessary documents to be admitted into the express entry pool and to submit an expression of interest to Ontario. These documents include proof of language skills and education.


The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Programme (OINP) has recently established a portal to which applicants can directly express their interest in living in the province. Once you have been approved, you would get enough points to increase your chances of being selected under the express entry system.

However, before applying, you would need to provide an attestation that you qualify under one of the streams that are open. Currently, the portal is open to individuals who can clearly demonstrate that they qualify under at least one stream. The steams open are Employer Job Offer – Foreign Worker Stream; Employer Job Offer – International Student Stream; Employer Job Offer – In-Demand Skills Stream; Masters Graduate Stream; PhD Graduate Stream. An individual who wishes to apply must follow the steps outlined and meet the criteria established under the Ontario Immigration Act, 2015 and its regulations.

If you qualify under one of the acceptable streams, you may follow the instructions to create a profile in the OINP e-Filing Portal via the province’s website. You will need to also meet the attestation requirement. You are required to download the form, sign in ink and upload the attestation to the portal. There is no fee to register and expression of interest. However, if you are selected and you receive an invitation to apply for provincial nomination, then you will be required to pay a fee. The fee depends on the stream for which you applied.

Your profile will be valid for a year and you may update it at any time, if you have not received an invitation to apply. There are also other provinces that you may consider. I recommend that you consult with an immigration lawyer to find out how to maximise your chances of becoming a permanent resident of Canada, as you appear to be a strong candidate. Just act promptly, as age is an important factor that will be considered.

Deidre S. Powell is an immigration lawyer, mediator and notary public with office in Ontario, Canada. Submit your questions and comments to or call 613.695.8777. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sign up on her website at