international graduates
International graduates can still look forward to a future in Canada. Source: Catherine Legault/AFP

The International Graduates stream for Canadian permanent residence (PR) has fulfilled its 40,000 application quota merely 25 hours after the streams went live on May 6. It proved to be the most popular of the six new pathways for international graduates and essential workers. While this is good news for thousands of hopefuls, others are disappointed by how fleetingly this opportunity passed.

Maybe you do not have IELTS General Training or CELPIP test results to prove your language proficiency. Maybe you could not submit your payment receipt in time, or do not have sufficient work experience. Well, CIC News says all hope is not lost — international graduates who hope to gain Canadian PR could still stand a chance under certain circumstances.

For one, things may change once Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) begin reviewing the applications. Those who do not meet eligibility criteria may leave their spots to other qualified international graduates. There is precedent for this assumption: after certain invited candidates chose not to submit applications for the Parents and Grandparents Program (PGP) lotteries this year, IRCC invited new candidates.

Since there are many international graduates in Canada, this stream was the first to fill up; but a portion of the applicants would also have applied to other streams. With that in mind, more spots could also open up if IRCC processes double-stream applicants under the essential worker stream instead.

Another possibility? The 50,000-quota for worker streams is not fulfilled by the deadline, and IRCC shifts the extra spots to the International Graduates stream. Making more occupations eligible under the worker streams could also open up spots for graduates. Bear in mind that these remain possibilities at this point; IRCC is continuously updating Immigration Levels Plan, and travel restrictions are still at the mercy of the pandemic.

How international graduates can prepare

With these possibilities on the horizon, international graduates would do well to beef up their eligibility in the coming weeks. This includes completing language tests and updating documents. By doing this, you improve your chances of obtaining Canadian PR should the pathway reopen.

Alternatively, you could try to apply to one of the many other Canadian immigration pathways. These include the Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programme (PNP), which grants PR for international graduates. So whether you want to prepare for the possibility of fresh slots in the International Graduates stream or pivot your efforts to a different pathway, it’s never too early to start compiling your application.