Easier for international students to become Canadian permanent residents

Canada PR changes 2022
The government announced a five-pillar strategy to streamline immigration services, especially in granting PR status to skilled temporary residents. Source: Dave Chan/AFP

It could soon be easier for international students to get Canada PR status. On September 22, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser released 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. “International students are a key source of talent that help grow Canada’s labour force, boost productivity, and balance the impact from Canada’s ageing population.”

The plan includes reform of the Express Entry system to allow the IRCC to invite candidates based on an economic goal. “The Department will also review the Comprehensive Ranking System criteria under Express Entry, particularly points awarded for Canadian work experience and education, language proficiency, and a job offer,” the statement wrote.

The plan will also increase “opportunities for more temporary workers to transition to permanent residence to help address labour market shortages,” attract more Francophone migrants to meet the 4.4% French-speaking immigration target by 2023, and making improvements for certain occupations like physicians and those in the agri-food sector.

Ticking time bomb while waiting for Canada PR application approval

Former international students many of whom remained in the country to work under the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) — had been experiencing mounting barriers in getting approved for a Canada PR during the pandemic. The issue prompted Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to introduce an open work permit which would enable qualified candidates to extend their expiring permits for an additional 18 months while waiting for their PR application outcomes. 

“Lastly, through Pillar 5, the Government is increasing processing capacity, improving client experience and modernising the immigration system through technological improvements,” the statement adds. “These initiatives are focused on ensuring newcomers are welcomed to Canada as permanent residents as quickly as possible.”