Many foreign undergraduate students in Canada often wonder if they can apply for Canada PR (permanent residence), also known as a Canada PR or green card. The answer is yes, but it is not always straightforward.
Canada is a country that is welcoming and has inclusive immigration policies. It is a popular destination for people worldwide looking to start a new life, pursue their studies, or build a career.
But, applying for PR can be complex and competitive. Students must understand the requirements, options, and challenges of applying as an undergraduate.
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This article will explore if they can and the options available to undergraduate students who wish to apply for PR in Canada.
How Undergraduates Can Apply For Canada PR
First, it is important to understand what PR means in Canada. Permanent residents are not Canadian citizens but have the right to live, work, and study in Canada indefinitely.
Permanent residents get a Permanent Resident Card (PR Card) as proof of their status in Canada.
PR card holders get similar benefits as Canadian citizens, including healthcare, education, and employment opportunities.
However, they cannot vote or hold certain government jobs, but they will pay taxes on their income.
To apply for PR, students must meet certain eligibility criteria and follow the steps outlined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This federal department administers immigration, refugee, and citizenship programs and policies in Canada.
There are several pathways to PR in Canada. Hence, an undergraduate student’s specific route will depend on their circumstances. Some options include:
1. Express Entry
Express Entry is a federal immigration program that allows skilled workers to apply for PR in Canada. To be eligible for Express Entry, applicants must meet certain requirements, including:
- having a job offer in a high-demand occupation,
- a bachelor’s degree or higher,
- and a high level of English or French language proficiency.
Undergraduate students who meet these requirements may be able to apply for PR through Express Entry.
However, it is important to note that the competition for spots in the Express Entry pool is fierce. Only the highest-scoring candidates get an invitation to apply for PR. Applicants can apply here for Express Entry Program.
2. Provincial Nominee Program
Each province and territory in Canada has its own Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). This allows them to nominate individuals for PR based on the specific needs of their labor market.
Some PNPs have streams specifically for students, which allow undergraduate students to apply for PR based on their studies or work experience in the province.
For example, the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program has a stream for international students who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in Ontario and have a job offer in the province.
Applicants can apply here for PNP Program.
3. Family Sponsorship
Undergraduate students who have close family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be able to apply for PR through the Family Class sponsorship program.
This program allows Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor certain family members, including spouses, common-law partners, and dependent children, for PR in Canada.
You can also read more on Family Immigration to Canada if you are planning on moving here
4. Work Permit
Undergraduate students who are studying in Canada on a study permit may be able to apply for a work permit after they complete their studies.
Some work permits, such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit, are specifically for international students who have graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution.
If an undergraduate student can obtain a work permit, they may be able to apply for PR through the Express Entry program or a provincial nominee program if they meet the eligibility requirements.
Factors That Can Affect Undergraduates Who Wish to Apply For PR in Canada
Here are some key points to consider when evaluating whether you, as an undergraduate student, can apply for PR in Canada:
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for PR in Canada unless you are married or have a common-law partner who is also applying for PR and is at least 18 years old.
Also, if you are under 18 and have yet to complete high school in Canada, you may not be eligible to apply for PR as an undergraduate student.
2. Program length
You must be in a bachelor’s degree program for at least two years to be eligible to apply for PR through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program.
The CEC is a category of the Express Entry system. This points-based system assesses and ranks PR applicants based on their human capital (education, skills, language ability), work experience, and other factors.
If you are enrolled in a one-year or shorter program, you may not be able to apply for PR through the CEC. Although you may still be able to apply through other programs such as the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or the Family Class Sponsorship.
3. Study Permit
You must have a valid study permit to study in Canada for the duration of your program.
If you have completed your program and your study permit has expired or will expire soon, you may only be able to apply for PR once you have obtained a new study permit or a work permit.
You may also need to provide proof of financial support, such as a letter of acceptance or a scholarship, to extend your study permit.
4. Language ability
You must meet the minimum language requirement for the CEC program, a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 in either English or French.
This means that you must communicate effectively in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in one of these languages at a high intermediate level.
But, if you do not meet the language requirement, you may not qualify for PR.
Undergraduate students can apply for PR in Canada through various pathways, including Express Entry, the Provincial Nominee Program, family sponsorship, and work permits.
While the process can be challenging, many undergraduate students have successfully obtained PR in Canada.
It is important to note that applying for PR in Canada can be complex and time-consuming. Also, it is not guaranteed that every applicant will be successful.
Undergraduate students considering applying for PR in Canada should carefully research their options and seek the advice of a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant.
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