International students are an essential pillar of Canada’s Long term competitiveness.

Canada is home to one of the best school systems in the world.
From elementary school to universities and colleges, language schools to vocational programs, Canadian schools accommodate students of all interests and backgrounds.

Individuals who study in Canada receive quality, internationally respected educations that prepare them for future professional pursuits. This is combined with tuition fees and living costs that are generally lower than in other developed countries.

The number of international students in Canada is over 300,000, a figure that is constantly growing. If you have gained admission to a Canadian educational institution, you may be able to obtain a study permit to study in Canada.

Not only that, but education is also a popular pathway to Canadian permanent residence.

Education as a pathway to Canadian permanent residence

Other benefits of studying in Canada

While studying in Canada, international students in Canada may also:

  • work for up to 20 hours per week while in school, and on a full-time basis during school breaks.
  • obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit for the equivalent duration of the studies once the program is successfully completed, allowing students to remain in Canada for many years before becoming a permanent resident.
  • bring an accompanying spouse or common-law partner to Canada on an open full-time work permit, allowing him or her to work for any employer.
  • bring accompanying minor children to study in Canada at the same rate that Canadians pay; and
  • as mentioned above, become eligible for Canadian permanent residence, either through a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), through Quebec’s immigration system, or through the Express Entry immigration selection system.

International students in Canada are in an excellent position to develop their career in Canada and stay permanently. The decision you have already made to study in Canada places you in a unique position.

Work while studying

Your Canadian study permit doesn’t just grant you the right to attend university or college, it also grants you the right to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during regular academic sessions, and full-time during scheduled academic breaks.

This opportunity is generally not afforded to your peers who decided to study in other countries, such as the United States. It allows you to make some money to fund your ongoing studies and living costs, all the while giving you connections in the local labour market. These professional networks could be lead to landing a great job upon graduation.

Bring family members to join you in Canada

The government of Canada, not to mention the university or college you are attending, wants you to be happy while you are studying in Canada. Consequently, you can have your spouse/common-law partner join you in Canada, as well as any dependent children. Your spouse/partner can apply for an open work permit, allowing him or her to come to Canada and work for any employer, while your children may also join you.

Besides, you can also look into having other family members, such as parents and siblings, visit you in Canada

Obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit upon graduation

Under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, you can obtain a work permit valid for up to three years, depending on the duration of your study program.

  • No job offer is required.
  • Work with any employer across Canada and change jobs when you want to.
  • Get that all-important Canadian work experience as you work towards obtaining permanent residence.

Many international graduates use the PGWP as a stepping stone into a successful career in Canada, and towards Canadian permanent residence.

Gain valuable Canadian work experience

Many Canadian economic immigration programs place a large emphasis on applicants’ work experience in Canada. As a graduate who has already entered the Canadian labor market, you have proven that you are an asset to the country. You can be trusted, you are intelligent, you are educated, and you get along with colleagues — so of course, Canada wants you to stay around longer than just a few years.

While working in Canada, you can build connections that will help you throughout your career. Overall, your Canadian work experience is likely to prove invaluable.

Discover your pathway to permanent residence

There are probably more pathways to Canadian permanent residence than you think. Did you know that some provinces allow certain graduates from institutions in other provinces to apply to their particular Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)? It’s true.

And did you know that the federal government also provides multiple pathways to permanent residence? That’s true too.

Make sure you have a plan in place for making this important transition and get assistance if you’re unsure of all your potential options.

Secure permanent resident status, and ultimately Canadian citizenship

This is the ultimate goal of many, if not most, international students and graduates in Canada. The permanent resident status grants several rights, including the right to live and work anywhere in Canada without the need to first secure a work permit. It is also a step along the way to Canadian citizenship.

Canada is looking to its cohort of international students and graduates to become its leading newcomers. You have learned the language(s), got the experience and the education, and proven that you are worthy of joining the Canadian family. So, why not aim for the top and have permanent residence and citizenship as your ultimate goal?

Call Our Idea Immigration Kelowna office for any student services

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During your studies in Canada, it may be necessary to renew or extend your study permit. Maintaining legal status in Canada throughout this process is crucial. maintaining Status in Canada is important not to exceed the duration of your authorized stay in Canada without first applying for a change in status. Besides, you should always comply with any conditions, such as restrictions on the nature of work, maximum hours you can work per week, how long you can study, etc.

Be sure to go over your study permit carefully and familiarize yourself with any conditions it contains. If you do not apply for a renewal of your current status or a change in status before your current status expires, you will need to leave Canada before applying to return.

If you submit your application for renewal or a change in status before your current status expires, you are considered to be on “implied status” as a temporary resident until a decision has been made concerning your application. You must keep a copy of the documents proving that a status extension has been requested (proof of postage or courier delivery, an internet submission receipt, etc). Besides, if your status expires before a decision has been made, you will only be able to continue studying as long as you remain in Canada.

This rule only applies to applications for temporary residence. If you are applying for permanent residence, you will not be allowed to stay in Canada until a decision has been made, unless you have a valid temporary status as a visitor, student, or worker.

If you lose your status in Canada by failing to comply with the conditions of your study permit, you may apply for a restoration of status within 90 days of losing such status.

Renewing/Extending Your Study Permit

If your study permit expires before you have completed your program of study, you will need to apply for a renewal. You should apply for a new study permit before your old one expires, and it is generally a good idea to submit your application at least 30 days before your current permit expires. You may submit your application online or by mail.

Changing Schools

IRCC states that students are not required to obtain a new study permit to transfer between educational institutions, study programs, or study levels. A student may study in Canada as long as his or her study permit is valid.

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In Canada, study permit holders are required to actively pursue their studies.

This means, among other things, remaining enrolled at a designated learning institution, making timely and reasonable progress towards completing your study program and maintaining your immigration status.

Study permit holders are required to actively pursue their studies. You should be enrolled in a full-time or occasionally part-time credit-load to be considered actively pursuing your studies. However, to work in Canada on a study permit, you will need to maintain full-time status. Each institution determines its definition of full-time studies. However, full-time studies usually mean a minimum of 9 credits (3 courses) per semester.

As required by law, Canadian Designated Learning Institutions periodically report on each international student’s enrollment status to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).


Canadian immigration officers impose conditions on your study permit. These may include one or more of the following:

  • the type of studies or course you may take
  • the educational institution you may attend
  • the location of your studies
  • the time and period of your studies
  • the times and places at which you shall report for medical examination or observation
  • the times and places at which you shall report for the presentation of evidence of compliance with applicable conditions
  • the prohibition of engaging in employment or
  • the duration of your stay in Canada

Failure to comply with these conditions can have serious consequences.

You must apply before the expiration of your study permit if you would like to continue studying in Canada. Schools recommend you apply at least three months before the expiry of your status, to allow for processing time. If you apply for an extension, you must stay in Canada and meet the conditions of your original study permit (i.e.: you cannot quit school and begin working).


Expired Study Permits

If your study permit expires and you have not applied for an extension, you must stop studying and/or working immediately, as you will be considered out-of-status.

If you fall out-of-status, you must apply for a restoration of status. You will have 90 days from the day your study permit expires to apply for this restoration. This application can only be done inside Canada and you will need to remain in the country until a decision is made on your application for restoration of status. The restoration process can take several months and there are no guarantees that your application for a new study permit will be successful.

Lost Study Permits

You will need to ask for a replacement by launching an application called a “verification of status or replacement of an immigration document.” In these cases, you may continue studying in Canada, but you should not leave until you obtain a copy of your study permit.

Taking a Semester Break

If you would like to take a semester off, it could affect your study permit and ability to work. Check with your international student advisor if you would like to take time away from your studies.

Regular and Scheduled Breaks

A regular or scheduled break is defined as a summer holiday, reading week, winter holiday, or transition period between graduation and receiving a post-graduation work permit. According to IRCC, a consecutive four-month break can only be taken:

  • once in a calendar year; and
  • Students must have had full-time enrollment before and after the term that is considered a scheduled break.

For further details. Please get in touch with our local office

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Many Provincial Nomination Programs (PNPs) and other immigration programs encourage international students to stay in Canada after their studies are completed.

Canada has provided ways to encourage international students and graduates to stay, gain work experience, or otherwise contribute to Canada’s economy and culture. Many graduates first obtain a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) before going on to apply for permanent resident status. Here are some popular immigration programs for former international students in Canada

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Quebec Experience Class (PEQ)
  • Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP)


There may be more Canadian immigration options than you think. Get a complete overview with our at-a-glance table.

Provincial Nominee Programs

If you have been studying in Canada as an international student, your province may have a PNP category that makes you eligible for fast-track Canadian permanent residence. In addition, some provinces allow international graduates to make an application to their PNP, even if they didn’t study in that province.

Provincial Nominee Programs with an International Graduate Category:

  • Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
  • British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP)
  • Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP)
  • Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)
  • Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP)
  • Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)

Call Our Idea Immigration Kelowna office for any student services

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After selecting an educational institution and study program in Canada, prospective international students will need to receive admission to their school of choice.

Preparing an application to a Canadian study program is a crucial step in the journey to becoming an international student in Canada. While the exact admission requirements and procedures vary from school to school, the following factors should all be taken into consideration when preparing an application. It is important to note that prospective students wishing to study in Canada must first apply to a study program at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).

Language Requirements

Canada’s two official languages are English and French. To qualify for an academic program, most English-speaking schools may ask students for whom English is not a first language to either pass an English examination test, such as Teaching of English as a Foreign Language test (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Canadian Academic English Language test (CAEL), or enroll in their language program, or at an ESL partner school. French-speaking institutions may ask for a recognized French test, or the institution may have its language assessment methods.

Entrance Requirements

There is no Canada-wide entrance test for post-secondary study programs. Each institution sets its admission standards and assesses the qualifications of each applicant individually. An applicant must verify that he or she meets the admission requirements of an intended study program before applying. Candidates may contact individual institutions for further information, or consult the relevant website.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary from school to school, with some schools accepting applications only at certain points during the year. After an application is submitted, it may take four to six months to receive a decision from a school. It is important to apply to a program well ahead of the intended start date, to ensure the applicant has enough time to obtain a Study Permit and travel to Canada before the study program begins. This process can take between eight and 15 weeks. It is a good idea to begin gathering the necessary documents and information for approximately one year in advance.

Academic Year

The academic year usually runs from September to May. Some schools are on a semester or trimester system, with all courses available even in the summer. Other institutions may offer a more limited course selection and timetable during summer months, and it is often optional to enroll in summer courses. Some programs also have a January intake.

Studying English or French as a Second Language

Prospective international students studying either French or English as a second language at a private institution in Canada can verify that the program is of good quality on the Languages Canada website. This organization provides a quality assessment of the language schools across Canada and offers lists of approved programs and members.

Institution/Program Recognition

In Canada, the provincial and territorial governments are in charge of education. Through provincial legislation, colleges are regulated and designated, and universities are given the right to grant degrees. International students are required to pursue studies at a DLI; this status is regulated by the province in which the institution is located. Before applying to an institution, prospective international students should verify that the desired institution is a DLI. For a full list of all DLIs by province, please refer to the Designated Learning Institution List.

While there is no governmental ranking of Canadian universities and colleges, many education publications and popular media sources rank Canadian institutions highly on lists of higher education institutions worldwide.

Distance Education

Individuals unable to come to Canada to study at a post-secondary institution may wish to consider the many online programs offered by Canadian universities and colleges. These programs can provide individuals a head start on a Canadian degree, diploma, or certificate by taking some courses online before arriving in Canada. With these courses completed, a student may arrive in Canada to attend an institution for the second or third year of a study program.

Financial Assistance

Individuals who need help to finance their Canadian studies may, as a first step, contact the government of their country of citizenship. There may be scholarships, low-interest loans, or other awards you qualify for. Besides, the financial aid office of the university or college you wish to attend may be in a position to offer assistance. Certain institutions may have financing options available to international students.

To determine if credits can be transferred from another post-secondary institution, a student must contact the Canadian university or college he intends to transfer to, as each institution has its policy regarding transfer credits. A student’s current educational institution may have an agreement with certain institutions in Canada to allow for credit recognition. Applicants will receive a Letter of Acceptance, which may be used in the application for a study permit in Canada.

Feel Free for any Clarification

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Canada’s constitution allows each province and territory to deliver its education programs. Despite regional differences, however, Canada’s colleges, universities, and polytechnics use similar terms to describe common pathways and credentials. The length and composition of these programs is an important decision for prospective international students, as it may have a direct effect on eligibility for employment and immigration opportunities in Canada.


Undergraduate education in Canada follows the completion of senior secondary or high school. The full duration of a standard undergraduate education (culminating in a bachelor’s degree) is three to five years. International students should budget a minimum of four years to complete a bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree. With a completed bachelor’s degree, and the right combination of language skills and experience, international students may become eligible for several provincial and federal immigration programs. They may also decide to pursue a Master’s degree, which requires completion of a bachelor’s degree. Canada also offers some certificates, diplomas, and Associate Degrees at the undergraduate level. While these do not qualify students to undertake a Master’s degree in Canada, they may be useful for immigration or employment purposes.

Certificate Programs

A typical certificate in Canada involves three to eight academic months of post-secondary study in a single subject. Common subject areas include Business, IT, Health Care Administration, and other pre-diploma or pre-degree options. A certificate aims to give post-secondary students the skills and knowledge for an entry-level vocation. All colleges and universities offer certificate programs of different lengths. A Canadian secondary school diploma or essential subject prerequisites are required for admission into a certificate program.

College or University Diploma

College diplomas in Canada most often comprise a minimum of two full-time academic years of specialized post-secondary study. Like certificate programs, diploma programs are mainly developed to meet specific demands of trades and technical or vocational careers, and – depending on the job required – may span upwards of three of four years. Diploma programs are also likely to have a co-op internship component or other apprenticeship options, and diplomas can be upgraded or transferred into a bachelor’s degree. Admission into a college diploma program requires a completed senior secondary program in Canada (or its equivalent).


Associate Degree

An Associate Degree in Canada is a 60-credit, foundational undergraduate program in a classical area of study (such as Sciences or Arts). Unlike certificates and diplomas, Associate Degrees comprise a breadth of general academic subjects as well as a specialization in an area of interest (similar to a major).

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in Canada normally signifies the completion of four years of full-time post-secondary education. Subject areas most often include traditional academic subjects in Business, General Sciences, Engineering, the Arts, or Humanities. In this arrangement, students are expected to gain general and foundational knowledge over their first one or two years, and then specialize in a concentration called a major. Some faculties offer a fifth professional year comprising a supervised practicum

Admission into a bachelor’s degree program requires a completed senior secondary diploma in Canada (or its equivalent).

Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates

In Canada, some diplomas and certificates may be taken following the completion of a bachelor’s degree. These programs may comprise approximately two to three semesters of full-time study. Graduate diplomas and certificates can transfer into master’s degrees. Frequently, they may operate as an additional complement to a bachelor’s degree, and show intense specialization in one subject area.

Master’s Degree

Master’s degrees comprise one to three years of highly-specialized post-graduate study and may lead to professional practice. These degrees are conferred by universities and tend to build on previous study areas explored at the bachelor’s level. Programs often expect the student to propose and conduct significant original research culminating in a major project, thesis, and/or comprehensive examination. Master’s degree programs in Canada require completion of a bachelor’s degree.

Doctorate Degree 

In general, a doctorate in Canada comprises at least two to three years’ equivalent full-time study in comprehensive and analytical coursework, followed by an independent dissertation or thesis. PhDs and other doctorates are required for many professions such as university professors, doctor, or high-level administration jobs in government, health care, and education. The average timeframe to complete a Doctorate is four to six years.

Call Our Idea Immigration Kelowna office for any student services

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