How to study and work in Canada as an immigrant

Canada is a popular destination for immigrants who want to pursue higher education and find employment opportunities.

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However, studying and working in Canada as an immigrant can be challenging, especially for those who are not familiar with the Canadian education system and labor market.

How to study and work in Canada as an immigrant

Here are some steps and requirements involved in studying and working in Canada as an immigrant.

To study in Canada as an immigrant, you need to apply for a study permit from the Canadian government.

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A study permit is a document that allows you to enter Canada for the purpose of studying at a designated learning institution (DLI), which is an accredited school or college that offers programs recognized by the Canadian government.

To apply for a study permit, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have an acceptance letter from a DLI that confirms your enrollment in a full-time program.
  • You must have enough money to pay for your tuition fees, living expenses, health insurance, and return transportation.
  • You must not have any criminal record or pose a threat to national security.
  • You must not work for an employer who is ineligible or engaged in prohibited activities.
  • You must have good health and pass any medical exams required by the immigration officer.

Depending on your country of origin and your program of study, you may also need to provide proof of language proficiency in English or French, proof of academic credentials or transcripts, proof of financial support or scholarships, proof of ties to your home country or intention to leave Canada after your studies, and other documents requested by the immigration officer.

To work in Canada as an immigrant after completing your studies, you need to apply for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP) from the Canadian government.

A PGWP is a document that allows you to stay and work in Canada for up to three years after finishing your studies at a DLI. To apply for a PGWP, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must have graduated from a full-time program at a DLI within the last 180 days.
  • You must have completed at least 12 months of full-time study at your DLI.
  • You must have applied for your study permit before completing your studies.
  • You must have no criminal record or pose a threat to national security.
  • You must not work for an employer who is ineligible or engaged in prohibited activities.

The processing time for a PGWP application also varies depending on where you apply from and how complete your application is.

Generally, it takes about 30 days to process online applications from most countries outside North America.

However, it may take longer if you apply from certain countries or if there are delays due to COVID-19. You can check the current processing times on the official website.

To extend or change your PGWP conditions while working in Canada as an immigrant student, you need to apply online through My Account. The extension period depends on how long it took you to complete your studies at your DLI. For example:

  • If it took less than six months (180 days), you can extend your PGWP until six months after completing your studies.
  • If it took six months (180 days) or more but less than one year (365 days), you can extend your PGWP until one year after completing your studies.
  • If it took one year (365 days) or more but less than two years (730 days), you can extend your PGWP until two years after completing your studies.

You can also change some aspects of your PGWP conditions while working in Canada as an immigrant student under certain circumstances. For example:

    • If you want to change employers while working in Canada as an immigrant student with an open work permit (which allows you to work for any employer), you need to get approval from Service Canada before starting any new job.
    • If you want to change jobs while working in Canada as an immigrant student with an open work permit (which allows you to work for any employer), but only within certain sectors such as health care, education, or research, you do not need approval from Service Canada, but you still need to meet the eligibility requirements for that sector.
    • If you want to change jobs while working in Canada as an immigrant student with a closed work permit (which restricts you to work only for one employer).

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