The road to residency: Easiest countries for international students to get PR

easiest countries to get permanent residency
Getting PR is a dream many international students have. Source: AFP

Looking for the easiest countries to get permanent residency?

Many international students dream of settling down in the country where they pursue their studies, aiming for permanent residency after graduating. This is driven by the desire for stability, better career prospects, and the opportunity to build a better life.

While the process of obtaining permanent residency status can be difficult in some countries, there are places where it’s easier for students to transition from a student visa to permanent residency.

For example, countries like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have attracted many international students due to their welcoming immigration policies. Canada has seen an increase in international students staying after completing their studies, with about 60% of them applying for permanent residency. 

easiest countries to get permanent residency

The easiest countries to get permanent residency will also open the doors for your family to make their move too. Source: AFP

Why you should apply for a permanent residency after your studies

As an international student, applying for permanent residency (PR) after your studies can open the doors to many great possibilities for your future. Here’s why it is a smart move:

  • Job opportunities: Securing PR could lead to more job opportunities in the country you are in as many employers prefer candidates with the legal right to work long-term. According to a report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education, about 53% of international students in Canada intend to apply for PR because it enhances their chances of finding employment after graduation.
  • Stability and security: Having PR allows you to build a life in that country without any worries about visa renewals or restrictions. 
  • Access to benefits: Having PR often gives you access to healthcare and education subsidies. For example, in Australia, PR holders are eligible for Medicare, the country’s public healthcare system, which covers medical expenses.
  • Family visa: PR status may allow you to sponsor family members to join you. This is important for those with spouses, children, or elderly parents. 
  • Increased financial opportunities: Some countries offer PR holders financial incentives or tax benefits. For example, Singapore provides tax relief and subsidies for PR holders.
easiest countries to get permanent residency

Ensure you have all your documents and passport updated when applying for your PR. Source: AFP

5 things to consider when applying for permanent residency 

To get a PR, you would first have to meet specific eligibility requirements set by each country’s government. Here are five things to consider when applying for permanent residency:

  1. Understand the eligibility requirements: Each country has its own eligibility requirements for obtaining PR. These include factors like how long you’ve lived there, your local language proficiency, employment status, and financial stability. 
  2. Start early: The process of getting PR can be lengthy, sometimes taking several months or even years. So, beginning the process as soon as possible is important.
  3. Stay informed: Research and understand the immigration policies of the country where you intend to apply for PR. Know the different types of visas and permits available and the pathway for permanent residency. 
  4. Prepare your documents: Obtaining PR requires providing documentation to prove your eligibility. This documentation may include the most up-to-date records of your employment, accommodation, financial stability, and other relevant information.
  5. Get help: The process of obtaining PR can be confusing and overwhelming. You can always seek help from immigration lawyers or consultants to guide you through this process.

10 top easiest countries to get permanent residency for international students 

easiest countries to get permanent residency

Topping the list of easiest countries to get permanent residency for international students is France. Source: AFP

1. France

Students can apply for permanent residency after five years of residing in France.

The country has so much to offer, from delicious cuisine to rich culture and picturesque landscapes. When it comes to education, France is home to prestigious universities renowned worldwide. Whether you’re pursuing a degree in arts, sciences, business, or any other field, you’ll find top-notch programmes here.

After completing your studies, finding employment in France is easier than in other countries. The country offers many job opportunities across various sectors.

For more details, this Reddit forum has it all laid out for you.

easiest countries to get permanent residency

Another one of the easiest countries to get permanent residency for international students is none other than Ireland. Permit. Source: AFP

2. Ireland

After completing your studies, you can extend your residency for up to two more years, allowing you to gain work experience and work towards earning your PR. 

Ultimately, you must have lived in Ireland for five years, including the time you spent studying to be eligible to apply for permanent residency. 

3. Denmark 

International students must reside legally in Denmark for at least five years before applying for permanent residency. 

To be eligible for permanent residency, you must have a valid residence permit, often acquired through your student visa. During your time in Denmark, it’s important to abide by the rules of your visa, including maintaining enrollment in a recognised educational institution and ensuring you have sufficient funds to support yourself.

The application process requires you to provide documentation to prove your eligibility, such as proof of residence, financial stability, and language proficiency. 

4. Norway

Upon completion of your studies, you can immediately apply for permanent residency. 

It takes about three years of continuous residence to become eligible for permanent residency. This means that if you complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Norway and stay in the country afterward, you’re on your way to becoming a permanent resident.

To qualify for permanent residency, there are a few requirements you must meet:

  • Education: You should have completed a degree programme at a recognised Norwegian institution. This could be a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.
  • Income: You need to demonstrate that you can support yourself financially. This could include income from employment, scholarships, or other sources.
  • Language proficiency: While not always mandatory, having a good command of the Norwegian language can significantly enhance your chances of obtaining permanent residency. 
  • Clean criminal record: A clean criminal record is a must as any sign of law-breaking will reflect badly on your application. 

Once you meet these requirements, you can apply for permanent residency through the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). The application process requires you to submit a few documents, including proof of identity, proof of residence, and evidence of financial stability.

5. UK

When international students come to study in the UK, they’ll get a two-year work permit after graduation. During these two years, you have the opportunity to showcase your skills and talents to potential employers. 

One way to transition to PR is through the Tier 1 or Tier 2 visa programmes.

The Tier 2 visa programme targets highly skilled workers with job offers in fields facing shortages. If you secure a job offer in such a field, you could be eligible to apply for PR after completing five years in the UK. 

The Tier 1 visa programme also requires a job offer, but it has additional criteria such as completing five years in the country and fulfilling other requirements. 

easiest countries to get permanent residency

Imagine living in Italy — one of the easiest countries to get permanent residency — and enjoying all the delicious food it has to offer. Source: AFP

6. Italy 

In Italy, international students can apply for permanent residency after residing in the country for five years. 

There are two main types of residence permits: temporary and permanent. As an international student, you’ll typically start with a temporary residence permit, which you can later change into a permanent residence permit after meeting certain criteria.

To qualify for permanent residency and citizenship, you’ll have to meet requirements such as demonstrating a minimum income and proficiency in the Italian language, history, and culture. 

7. Netherlands

In the Netherlands, international students must have lived in the country for five years to qualify for permanent residency, which includes the time they spend studying. 

Finding employment in the Netherlands is quite easy because of the country’s high employment rate. Many international students secure well-paying jobs or paid internships within the first six months after graduation. This not only helps you gain valuable work experience but also contributes to your eligibility for permanent residency.

To become a permanent resident, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, including demonstrating your integration into Dutch society and showing that you can support yourself financially. 

8. Finland

International students need to reside legally in Finland for a total of four years, including study years, to become eligible for permanent residency.

The application process involves providing documentation demonstrating your eligibility, such as proof of residence, employment history, and possibly language proficiency. 

easiest countries to get permanent residency

Germany is one of the easiest countries to get permanent residency. Source: AFP

9. Germany 

After completing your studies in Germany, you can stay and work in the country for up to two years with a post-study work permit. This time gives you the opportunity to network, gain valuable work experience, and find employment that meets the requirements for permanent residency.

To become a permanent resident in Germany, you need to fulfill these requirements:

  • Work experience: After two years of post-study work permit, you’ll need to gain relevant work experience in Germany.
  • Language proficiency: Proficiency in German can improve your chances for permanent residency. 
  • Financial stability: You must be able to support yourself financially.
  • Clean criminal record: Like in most countries, you’ll need to have a clean criminal record to be eligible for permanent residency.

10. Canada

One of the most popular routes to getting permanent residency in Canada is through the Express Entry system. This system assesses you based on your skills, qualifications, work experience, and other factors. If you meet the criteria, you could be invited to apply for PR through Express Entry.

Another option is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which allows Canadian provinces to nominate individuals for permanent residency based on their specific requirements and needs. 

To be eligible for PR in Canada, you must have been physically present in the country for at least 730 days within the past five years.