April 24, 2021

Canada’s New Immigration Policy for International Student Graduates (TR to PR)

Canadian immigration professionals have been shuddering every time there’s a news coming out this year. We thought that “that very” February 13 Express Entry draw inviting those inside Canada with a score of 75 or above to apply would be the highlight of the year and nothing can come even close to it in terms of a surprise. “Did you hear about the draw?” “Yes, isn’t it crazy? They seemed to have cleaned the entire pool!” “This must be a glitch!” Guess what? The news has quickly faded away giving room to the next one in a series of announcements that Alice in Wonderland would describe as “curioser and curioser” – had she been a licensed RCIC. A mere few days ago, Canada announced that it will accept up to 90,000 immigrants including 40,000 international student graduates.

What do we need to know about the new policy? Well, first of all, this is supposed to be only a temporary relief aiming to assist Canada’s economy that’s been not unscathed due to COVID-19. Second, it is again aiming at the temporary residents currently in Canada – those who have been patiently waiting in line to come to Canada via programs like Foreign Skilled Worker again are not a part of this jamboree.

I’ll just review the international student graduates stream this time. As it’s clear from the title, this policy is for those who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary Designated Learning Institution (DLI) after January 1, 2017. They should also be legally working in Canada at the time of application. These are two major eligibility criteria, however, with some limitations:

  • Not all DLIs, and even programs within the same DLI will make you eligible. The list of eligible DLIs appears to be very similar to the PGWP-eligible institutions list. For example, a diploma from a private institution like Columbia College in Vancouver may not qualify but an Associate Degree from the same institution will.
  • Depending on the type of credential you obtained, the minimum program length requirement varies:
    • For a degree (Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD), the program length must be a minimum of 8 months;
    • For a certificate/diploma/attestation in trades, credential of any length is accepted, as long as it leads to an occupation from the Annex A list;
    • For certificate/diploma/attestation leading to all other occupations not included in the list, the length must be at least 16 months (typically a two-year program of study). The good news is, it is possible to combine two credentials of at least 8 months long each, to accumulate 16 months.
  • Compared to the Canadian Experience Class immigration program, typically chosen by international graduates in Canada, this pilot has relatively low language requirements. For all applicants, only a CLB Level 5 is required, which translates to IELTS General Listening, Writing and Speaking 5.0, and Reading 4.0.
  • You must be residing in Canada at the time of submitting an application with a valid status or be eligible to restore this status.
  • You must be currently employed in Canada with valid authorization to work: for instance, on PGWP, LMIA-based work permit, maintained status as a worker, or a study permit (if you have completed one program and are taking another program). You cannot be on maternity or medical leave.
  • Finally, you must intend to reside outside of the province of Quebec.

What are the important things to consider:

  • This temporary policy specifically mentions that self-employed work experience will not count. You must be an employee, in order to be eligible to apply.
  • No bridging work permit will be issued for someone whose status expires at the time of an application processing. That means, you may need to be prepared to change status or even leave the country, while waiting for the decision.
  • No one currently knows the process of applying, the document checklist and processing times. Therefore, it may be wise to prepare the typical set of documents required for economic immigration programs. Some of these documents will require time to obtain:
    • Documents related to your completed program of study in Canada:
      • Letter of completion or degree
      • Final academic transcript
    • Documents related to your current employment:
      • Employment Letter from your current employer
      • Pay stubs
      • Notice of Assessment if available
      • T4s
      • Work contracts, offer of employment
    • Police Criminal Checks from any country you have lived in for 6 months or longer during the last 10 years
    • Medical exams
    • Language test results
    • Marriage/divorce/birth/death/adoption/name change certificates, translated into English
    • Digital photos
    • Passport and previous/current immigration documents as proof of your legal status in Canada during study and eligibility to work
    • Any other documents that you feel will be relevant to your situation, translated into English
  • Can you apply to more than one stream? Yes, but you will need to provide fees more than once as well, as all documents and fees will be required up-front. Also, keep in mind that intake caps will be counted by the number of times the submission button has been pressed. Therefore, by submitting multiple applications, you may be taking a chance away from someone else.
  • Considering the cap of 40 000 and relatively low eligibility criteria, the cap may be reached within weeks and even days from the day the program opens on May 6. Therefore, it is extremely important to be prepared to submit the complete package early.
  • Finally, the program will likely require up-front payment of government fees (unlike two-stage processing of Express Entry applications). It is important to have access to a valid credit/debit card and funds at the time of submitting an application.

While you may be eligible and have all documents ready by May 6 or shortly after, it is important to understand that with the cap of 40 000 and very scarce information about the way applications will be accepted and processed, the positive outcome is not guaranteed. The maximum number of applications may be reached before your package has been reviewed. Besides, all applicants and their dependents must pass the criminal and medical record check.

We at Bulantseva Immigration Consulting are wishing you good luck with your application! Feel free to reach out and will be glad to answer any questions you may have at any stage of the process.

Take care,