In the Know: Thinking about applying for permanent residence in Canada?

UVic Global Community Newsletter: March 6, 2023

In the Know: Advice for international students is a section of the UVic Global Community Newsletter that includes valuable information for undergraduate and graduate international students in the following categories: degree-seekingincoming exchange, and incoming study abroad/visiting.

After having studied, lived and worked in Canada, many international students want to stay here permanently. Fortunately, there are several pathways to immigrate to Canada, so depending on your circumstances and qualifications, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence now or in the future. It is important to be mindful that each individual has a unique situation and it is up to you to determine the pathway(s) most suitable for you.

Temporary resident status: Study, work and stay in Canada

As an international student, you are a temporary resident in Canada. The conditions imposed on your stay, including the length of time you’re allowed to remain in Canada, are noted on your Canadian immigration document (e.g. study permit, work permit, or visitor record). You are required to comply with these conditions for the duration of your stay, and you must also maintain valid status in Canada throughout your time here. This means that before your study permit expires or becomes invalid, you must either leave Canada or apply for a study permit extension if you need more time to complete your program at UVic.

If you will graduate soon, but would like to stay in Canada after you graduate, you must apply for another status (e.g. visitor or worker) before your study permit expires. We strongly recommend you start planning to extend your stay in Canada (including any changes to your immigration status) at least 4 months before your current status expires, if possible.

Keep in mind that your study permit will become invalid either on the expiry date printed on the permit, or 90 days after you receive your final grades for your program, whichever comes first.

If you want to stay in Canada and gain some Canadian work experience after graduation, you may be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after you complete your program of study. This work permit may be valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the program you have completed. If you are issued a PGWP, the time you spend working might allow you to gain the necessary work experience to meet the eligibility requirements to apply for permanent residence.

If getting a PGWP is not an option for you, you may be eligible for other work permits.

For more information about temporary immigration documents for international students, refer to the Living in Canada section of the ICS website. If you have questions about your study permit conditions or need guidance to extend your student immigration documents, contact an International Student Adviser (ISA).

Permanent Residence

If you want to stay in Canada indefinitely, you will need to become a permanent resident (PR) of Canada. As stated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), “A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.”

PR status allows you to stay in Canada long-term and enjoy many of the same rights and privileges that Canadian citizens have, with some exceptions. There are also certain requirements you must meet to maintain PR status.

There are many different pathways to PR, and each one has specific eligibility requirements you must meet before you can apply. Common pathways that UVic international students may consider when applying for PR status include:

Federal Economic Programs 

This consists of three programs managed through Express Entry, which is an online application system for skilled workers.

BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP)

This program allows the province of British Columbia to nominate international students, foreign workers and entrepreneurs for permanent residency.

Depending on your circumstances, there may also be other options available to you. For general information on permanent residence options and where to find help, please review the following resources:

Web and video resources


Can I get advice on permanent residence from International Student Advisers at UVic?

At UVic, International Student Advisers (ISAs) can only advise on a limited range of immigration topics for UVic international students and their accompanying family members. We are specialized in providing immigration advice specifically as it pertains to being a student (e.g. study permits, co-op work permits, post-graduation work permits) or the accompanying family member of a student (e.g. open work permits for spouses of international students).

Our advisers cannot answer questions related to permanent residence applications or assess eligible programs as those questions are outside our scope of practice. Please refer to the resources and information listed above for general information.

In addition, we sometimes invite subject matter experts to provide information sessions on permanent residence programs in Canada. These sessions are normally promoted via our Global Community Newsletter. Our most recent session was held on November 30, 2022, and you can find a link to the recording in the resource list above.

If you have questions about permanent residence after reviewing the above resources, you can contact IRCC or an authorized representative outside UVic. Keep in mind that authorized representatives such as Immigration Lawyers and Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants do charge a fee for their services.

Want to know what else is going on? Join the UVic Global Community Facebook Group to receive regular updates about opportunities and events both on and off campus.