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4 ways international students can become Canadian PRs in 2023

permanent resident
These pathways are a stepping stone for you to become a permanent resident in Canada. Source: Fred Tanneau/AFP

It could soon be easier for international students to become permanent residents in Canada. On Nov.1, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a new policy to attract 1.45 million immigrants between 2023 and 2025. 

This comes after Statistics Canada revealed that immigrants made up 23% of the country’s population in 2022. 

Fraser’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time since he recently announced a “five-pillar plan” to address the country’s overflowing application backlog toward meeting its ambitious immigration target.

“Temporary foreign workers and international students play an important role in Canada’s economy and that is why the government aims to enable greater pathways to permanent residency,” the official statement read.

In light of this, consider these pathways if you want to become a permanent resident in Canada after graduating: 

permanent resident

Canada is turning squarely toward foreigners to address its labour shortage and has set record-breaking immigration targets of bringing in 1.45 million immigrants between 2023 to 2025. Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images/AFP

Becoming a permanent resident in Canada: 3 options to explore in 2023 

1. Provincial Nominee Programme

A Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP) allows a province to nominate a foreign national for Canadian permanent residency. Once the person is nominated, they can apply to become a permanent resident. 

The provinces and territories that run a PNP, according to the Canadian government’s website, include Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and more.

Each province has its streams (immigration programmes that target specific groups) and requirements. A province may target students, business people, skilled workers, and semi-skilled workers in a stream.

Take the Ontario PNP, for example. Consider this option if: 

  • You have recently graduated with a job offer in Ontario
  • You have a master’s degree or PhD at an Ontario university 

2. Express Entry  

Express Entry is an online system that manages applications from skilled workers looking to settle in Canada as permanent residents. It includes three categories, namely the:

  • Canadian Experience Class (CEC)
  • Federal Skilled Worker Programme (FSWP)
  • Federal Skilled Trades Programme (FSTP)

Of these three routes, many found success through the CEC — one of the fastest routes to a Canadian PR. It only takes four months to process, provided you are eligible for CEC. 

You need to have at least 12 months of full-time skilled work experience (or an equivalent amount for part-time jobs) in Canada. You should acquire them within the previous three years from the date that you applied for CEC.

Here’s the catch: your work experience gained during a period of full-time study does not count towards the 12-month requirement, so international students cannot count work experience gained during their studies. 

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Have family living in Canada? The family class immigration programme is a great option for you to become a permanent resident. Source: Geoff Robins/AFP

3. Family Sponsorship

Do you have a family member who is a Canadian citizen? If you do, check out the family class immigration programme

This programme reunites Canadian permanent residents with close family members. By sponsoring members of the family class, the sponsors are responsible for covering the basic needs of family members so they would not need to rely on social assistance. 

International students qualify for this programme as the person seeking sponsorship can be a dependent child or sibling. 

4. Post Graduate Work Permit

You may be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) if you have graduated from a designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. Depending on the duration of your studies, a PGWP can be issued for up to three years. With this, you can stay and work in the country.

Can you apply for the PGWP? Click here to see if you meet the requirements.

If you want to become a permanent resident of Canada, this also comes in very handy as the work experience will help you in applying for a PNP or the Express Entry.