International student to PR: Advice from those who have done it
If you are already an international student and wish to pursue immigration to Canada permanently, different pathways offered by the government can turn your dream into a reality. Several students have done it and vouch for the international student to PR route. Wondering what it’s like? Read on.
Anirudh Sharma came to Canada as an international student in April of 2019 and pursued a Masters degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia. The TR (Temporary Residency) to PR (Permanent Residency) pathway was highlighted by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic and Anirudh used it to his advantage and received his PR within a few months of submitting his application.
Kofo Owolabi successfully runs a business in Canada. However, she, too, first came to Canada as a student in 2003 at the high school level. She secured her PR in 2014 and resides in Hamilton, Ontario. “Being in Canada as an international student has its advantages because you are no longer outside the country unlike most immigrants when they apply for PR. As a student, you are in the country and have probably learned a lot about Canada in your school years. So that gives you that leg up compared to like somebody who might be applying from outside,” says Kofo.
Unlike Anirudh and Kofo, Jin Kim came to the country from South Korea in 2010 to study English but fell so in love with Canada and its people that he decided to eventually apply for permanent residency. In 2017, after studying and being employed for three years, he finally received his PR.
Here’s the advice that these achievers have for you if you’re interested in the international student to PR route:
Kofo advises you to treat the immigration process much like the university degree you came to get here. “When you come to school and study, there are going to be some hard tests. But you can pass them. Immigration is like that. It may be tough but is very doable. And honestly, Canada is such a great country to live in. This is the reason why we stick it out,” she says.
Also read: Top tips to navigate life as an international student in Canada
While Anirudh agrees that the process can be exhausting for some due to a prolonged timeline, he encourages applicants to keep a positive mindset because many like him could get lucky and receive a PR within a matter of months. Another recommendation from Anirudh is to have a plan B ready. “If one thing doesn’t work out, be prepared with what you could do next. For instance, in my case, had the TR to PR pathway not worked out, I knew I could go ahead and apply for the CEC program or the PNP program,” he says.
Jin seconds Anirudh’s thoughts on having a plan B. “The biggest mistake I made when I was applying was that I was scared and had no idea what would happen if I didn’t get PR. Focusing too much on one thing to ignore other options isn’t a good idea,” he says. Jin’s second piece of advice to you is, to be honest, and transparent in your application. “Never lie on your application or think that you can get away with it. It’s never going to be worth it,” he adds.
When it comes to your immigration application, consulting a professional immigration consultant or lawyer is something that all three student-turned-PRs vouch for. We asked Parneet Malhi Rayat, an immigration lawyer who has been practising since 2015, to share the highlights of the process with us.
She shares: “The initial process is first to come here as a student. You need an acceptance letter and need to be approved for a study permit. That authorizes you to study in Canada. The process could vary but mostly you would come to Canada first and study and then get your open work permit which is called your postgraduate work permit. As you work in Canada for at least one year, you could apply for PR by setting up a profile and applying under the Express Entry system, which is a point-based system that allocates points for different factors, including your age, education level, English level, work experience in Canada and abroad, etc. The government does a draw about once or twice a month, and if your score matches the number or is higher, you will be issued an invitation to apply.” There are other immigration pathways, too, but Express Entry is probably “the most straightforward, the most common and the most recommended one for international students” to pursue permanent residency in Canada, adds Parneet.
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