Permanent Residency

For more information, consult Citizenship and Immigration Canada and  Opportunities Ontario.

Keeping your immigration status current

  • For visa or study/work permit extensions, apply at least 30 days in advance of expiration.
  • Be sure to start your passport renewal process at least 6 months in advance of expiration.
  • Your visa/study permit will only be issued for the duration of your passport. So if you passport is near expiration, you should renew that first and then apply for the permit extension.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application, you have “implied status” and can continue to study/work under the same conditions as your expired permit. So if the process takes longer than 30 days, you’re still good.
  • If you let your study/work permit lapse, you have 90 days during which you can apply for restoration. It costs more and you don’t have implied status (i.e., you can’t continue to attend U of T until it is restored). So it’s really important not to let your permit lapse.

Online applications will be processed faster than paper applications, so applying online is usually your best choice. If you do use a paper application, use registered mail for any material sent to CIC.

Post-Graduation Work Permit

Following graduation, you may apply for a post-graduation work permit that will allow you stay in Canada and work. It’s an open work permit. You don’t need a job offer to apply, and once recieved you can work for anyone, anywhere in Canada.

The Post Graduation Work Permit is a once-in-a-lifetime offer. So if you are completing your master’s and think you may want to go on to a PhD, you only get it once, either at the end of your master’s program or at the end of your PhD program.

You must apply within 90 days of receiving formal, written notification that you have completed your program requirements. Your study permit must be valid at the time you apply.

The work permit is good for a period equal to the period of your study, up to 2 years.

Permanent Residency

There are three paths to permanent residency for students:

  • Federal Skilled Worker’s Program
  • Canadian Experience Class Program
  • Provincial Nomination Program.

You can apply along multiple tracks, except for the Provincial Nomination Program, for which you can only apply through one province.

The Federal Skilled Worker’s Program

There are three categories:

  • Skilled workers with an offer of employment
  • Skilled workers in special categories without an offer of employment (probably doesn’t apply to any of us)
  • PhD students who have completed 2 years of their program or who have graduated within the last 12 months

For the PhD student track:

  • 1000 applications will be processed each year.
  • You must have completed at least 2 years of the program or graduated within the last 12 months.
  • You must have current, valid immigration status to apply.
  • You must not have received a grant requiring return to your home country.
  • You must be in good academic standing if still a student.
  • You must pass the IELTS or TEF language test.
  • You must demonstrate sufficient savings/income (about $12K for an individual)
  • Pass CIC criminal/medical/not-a-terrorist screening

Canadian Experience Class

  • You must have graduated.
  • You must have current, valid immigration status at time of application.
  • You must have 2 years of study in Canada (can include undergraduate work).
  • You must have 1 year of work experience in Canada after graduation at the NOC O, A, or B level (i.e., professional/skilled work, not at Tim Horton’s).
  • Pass CIC criminal/medical/not-a-terrorist screening
  • You don’t have to remain in Canada while the application is processed.

Provincial Nominee Program

If you know what province you want to stay in, this is probably the fastest and easiest way for a graduating student to get permanent residency. Provinces can fast track permanent residency applications for those intending to work in the province. The requirements vary by province. The following applies to Ontario.

The province can nominate 1000 students per calendar year for permanent residency. In 2011 the quota was reached in mid-December, so you can apply pretty much any time.

PhD students:

  • You must intend to live and work in Ontario.
  • Apply within 2 years after graduation. You may apply after you’ve successfully defended their thesis.
  • Pay $1500 fee. Fee is non-refundable, but if the quota is reached, your application rolls over to the next year, and you don’t need to repay.
  • Pass CIC criminal/medical/not-a-terrorist screening
  • That’s it. No other requirements.

MA students:

  • You must intend to live and work in Ontario.
  • You must not be contemplating further study. (No outstanding PhD program applications.)
  • Apply within 2 years after graduation.
  • MA students can apply in their final semester.
  • Currently residing in Ontario with legal status (e.g., study/work permit).
  • Resided in Ontario for 1 year out of the last 2 years.
  • Demonstrate sufficient savings/income (about $12K for an individual)
  • Pass the IELTS or TEF language test.
  • Pay $1500 fee. Fee is non-refundable, but if the quota is reached, your application rolls over to next year, and you don’t need to repay.
  • Pass CIC criminal/medical/not-a-terrorist screening