One of the key differences between younger people and older people is their time horizons. When I was young I had a vague plan what I wanted to be doing in 5 years but I had a clear plan for only 1 or 2 years at the most. This article is to get international students in Canada to think more long term if they want to become permanent residents.

The main problem that I have come across in my long time practice as an immigration lawyer is that many international students do not have a long term plan. You should have a good idea of which province you want to go to, which immigration program for permanent residence you want to qualify through and which job you would like to do when you graduate. Of course, plans can change but some plan is usually a big help and much better than no plan at all.

Remember that both the provincial and the federal authorities have immigration programs for permanent residence. The main federal program for students is the Express Entry System and the provincial programs have their Provincial Nominee Programs. Each province and territory has different “streams” or programs. Each program has different requirements and application processing times. Some provinces will only support students who graduate from an educational institution from their province and others will take students from other provinces. So you need to check all 14 jurisdictions (10 provinces, 3 territories and the
federal government) to see which rules fit your requirements the best.

Since there are so many different programs for permanent residence for international students, it is difficult for me to give specific requirements in this blog post. But I will give you some general requirements.

Usually, students do not have at least one year of high skilled work experience and that is usually required by the Federal and Provincial immigration programs for permanent residence. However, some programs do not require any work experience. If you have some high skilled work experience from outside of Canada before or during your studies, then this will often be helpful. Co-op programs are very helpful for getting work experience and finding employers.

When you graduate you will likely be entitled to a post-graduate work permit and this will help you to be able to get a permanent high skilled job. The key is not to take a low skilled job as that will usually not help you to get permanent residence.

Another problem I have come across it that there are usually application deadlines hidden in the requirements. For example, they may not count your work experience or education if you don’t apply within a certain time.

And the last warning is that since the process usually takes many years from when you make your plans until you apply for Permanent Residence visa, you need to constantly be rechecking the provincial and federal program requirements as they are constantly changing. The usual rule is that the rules are fixed after you apply. So if they change the rules after you apply, those changes will usually not harm you. However, if your plan is to apply for permanent residence and they change the rules before you apply, then you have to meet the requirements of the new rules.

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