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What are the Benefits of Studying in Canada?
Canada is now one of the world’s leading destinations for international students with over 600,000 students from all over the world. Research shows that international students are attracted to Canada for the following reasons:
High quality of education offered by Canadian schools
Canada offers international students with opportunities to work during and after their studies, and transition to permanent residence
Opportunities to study in English and/or French
Safety and security
Canada welcomes immigrants and international students from nearly 200 different countries each year
Canada is affordable compared with other popular international student destinations. Consider also that the Canadian dollar is weaker than major currencies such as the USD, GBP, and EUR
About Canada’s Universities and Colleges
There are over 1,500 universities, colleges, and other educational institutions that are authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to welcome international students. These educational institutions are called designated learning institutions (DLIs) and they exist to help international students learn in Canada and stay in the country after graduation. The list of DLIs that are authorized by IRCC is constantly growing. Please verify that the university, college, or other institution you wish to enroll in is authorized by IRCC by visiting the Canadian government’s official website.
Ontario and Quebec are Canada’s largest provinces by population, and hence, they host the most number of DLIs in the country (nearly 1,000 combined).
Given the large number of DLIs across Canada, you are very likely to find an educational program that meets your needs.
Generally speaking, universities across Canada offer comparable levels of high-quality education. The reason for this is that Canada promotes equity within its education system, meaning that it strives to ensure all students get the best possible education possible, irrespective of which institution that they go to.
Canada also has some 150 community colleges which also offer good quality education. Whereas universities specialize in providing theoretical knowledge and career training in certain professions (e.g., medicine, engineering, law), community colleges offer more applied training to help students quickly integrate into the labour market. College programs are more practical, with the knowledge provided to students meant to help them find work within their area of study.
Just like universities, colleges across Canada tend to offer similar levels of education. International students should take comfort at studying at a Canadian college, since the credential that they gain will support their professional and immigration ambitions upon graduation.
Study Pathways to Permanent Residence (PR)
International students who complete post-secondary education in Canada have many opportunities to extend their stay and ultimately transition to permanent residence.
Your education in Canada may put you at an advantage when it comes to pursuing Canadian permanent residence. Many federal and provincial immigration programs value candidates with Canadian education and work experience.
After completing your education in Canada, you can gain Canadian work experience by obtaining a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) which, depending on your Canadian academic program, may enable you to work in Canada for up to three years.
While holding a PGWP, you can then go ahead and pursue a number of federal and provincial permanent residence avenues, such as:
One of the most prominent ways of pursuing permanent residence is by submitting an Express Entry profile. Express Entry is the main way that Canada manages economic class immigration applications.
Express Entry candidates are assessed through the Comprehensive Ranking System. The Comprehensive Ranking System rewards candidates who are young, have Canadian education and work experience, and strong English and/or French proficiency. These are characteristics that many of Canada’s international students possess.
Through Express Entry, former international students may be well-placed to be eligible for the popular Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, which enables tens of thousands of former international students and temporary foreign workers to become permanent residents each year.
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) allows provinces and territories across Canada to identify immigration candidates who meet their local economic needs. Many PNP streams reward candidates who are former international students or are specifically dedicated to international students.
Quebec is Canada’s second largest province and the city of Montreal is a very popular destination for international students. The province operates its own immigration system with programs that are different from those offered by the federal government and under the PNP. Quebec also encourages former international students to transition to permanent residence. One of the notable ways it seeks to do this is through the Quebec Experience Program.
Other Federal Programs
In addition to the three programs it manages under Express Entry, the federal government operates additional economic class immigration programs. The programs offer special streams to international students and/or exemptions from Canadian work experience requirements. These include the Atlantic Immigration Program and the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.