International students will now be eligible to immigrate to Canada if they have completed at least 50% of their studies in person at a university in British Columbia. If you stayed in your home country because you were unable to enter Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic, you may still be eligible for the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Programme (BC PNP) international student categories. The amendment is in response to the travel restrictions, in Canada and abroad, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Here’s what you need to know about this new rule:
1. Who can apply?
When you graduate will influence your eligibility. If you graduated before March 1, 2020, you will not be able to take advantage of this new rule. If you graduated on or after March 1, 2020 and 50% or more of your studies were be completed online, you will be eligible under the new rule.
2. How do I prove I studied in Canada for 50% of my programme?
You can use documents such as bank statements, utility bills and tenancy agreements to show that you were physically in Canada.
3. How does the new rule affect distance education students?
Distance education refers to programmes where teachers and students are separated physically, with their communication facilitated via technology. As they are completed almost exclusively online, regardless of COVID-19 travel restrictions, students in distance education programmes remain ineligible for nomination.
4. What are the immigration categories open to eligible students under this new rule?
You can choose one of these four pathways to immigrate to Canada via British Columbia:
- Express Entry B.C. Stream – International Graduate Category;
- Express Entry B.C. Stream – International Post-Graduate Category;
- Skills Immigration Stream – International Graduate Category;
- Skills Immigration Stream – International Post-Graduate Category.
Key requirements for all categories are a qualification from an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada and a job offer from an eligible employer that meets the minimum income requirements for the job offer.
5. Do I need a valid Express Entry profile?
Yes, as the Express Entry B.C. stream is aligned with the federal Express Entry system. You must also be eligible for one of Canada’s main economic class immigration programmes: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).