How International Students in Canada are Becoming Permanent Residents

According to data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there has been a notable increase in the count of international students receiving permanent residency. Specifically, the statistics demonstrate a surge from 8,565 former international students granted permanent residency in 2005 to 19,330 during the initial three quarters of 2023.

Growing Trend of International Students Becoming Canadian Permanent Residents

The dream of attaining permanent residency (PR) status in Canada has become increasingly achievable for international students. Recent statistics released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have unveiled a remarkable surge in the number of former international students transitioning to permanent residents, nearly tripling since 2023. Ontario led the charge, admitting 6,760 former international students as permanent residents.

Changing Landscape of Provincial Transitions

The landscape of provincial transitions has also witnessed significant shifts, as indicated by the IRCC's data. While Ontario maintained its leading position, other provinces experienced noteworthy changes.

In 2015, Alberta, Quebec, and British Columbia held the second, third, and fourth positions, respectively. However, the dynamic altered by 2023, with British Columbia surpassing the others to claim the second spot, welcoming 4,195 PRs. Quebec retained its third-place standing, while Alberta fell to fourth, admitting only 1,900 PRs, a modest increase from 2015.

During the period analyzed, Ontario maintained its position as the leading province, demonstrating its appeal as a destination for international students seeking a pathway to Canadian permanent residency. The province's commitment to providing student opportunities has solidified its position as a key contributor to Canada's vibrant and diverse academic community.

Here's How You Can Too

As more international students aspire to secure permanent residency in Canada, understanding the available pathways becomes paramount. International Students wanting to become permanent residents in Canada utilize the following pathways:

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit allows any Canadian Designated Learning Institution (DLI) graduates to work for any employer they want, anywhere in Canada, and change jobs anytime for up to three years. This work experience can make you eligible for permanent residence via programs like the Express Entry System's Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

Another avenue that offers a pathway to permanent residency for international students are Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). 11 out of Canada’s 13 provinces offer provincial nominee programs to fulfill each province’s labor needs. As an international student, you may be eligible for the following student-specific programs:

Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP)

The International Education Stream (IES) under MPNP is specifically designed for international students graduating in Manitoba. Eligibility includes completing a post-secondary program in Manitoba, ongoing employment in Manitoba, and language proficiency.

British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

BC PNP offers two streams for international students:

  • The Express Entry BC – International Graduate category, and
  • The Skills Immigration – International Graduate category.

Both require a degree, diploma, or certificate from an eligible Canadian post-secondary institution within the past three years and a job offer from a BC employer.

Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

The OINP offers the International Student Stream where eligibility requires a degree or diploma from a Canadian institution, intention to live and work in Ontario, and sufficient settlement funds.

Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP):

The PEI PNP's Express Entry Stream is open to candidates who have studied in PEI or elsewhere in Canada. Eligibility includes having a valid Express Entry profile and job offer in PEI, among other requirements.

Learn more about the PNP.

Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP)

The Atlantic Immigration Pilot’s International Graduate Program is open to students with a degree, diploma, or other credential from a publicly-funded institution in an Atlantic province. Applicants must have a job offer in an Atlantic province and intend to reside there.

Learn more about the AIP

With the number of international students applying to study in Canada projected to reach 1.4 million by 2027, the government and prospective students must approach the process transparently. The increasing numbers demonstrate a growing interest in Canadian education and the potential opportunities it offers for a prosperous future.

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