To Stay or Leave after Graduation—the X-Factor Question for All International Students in Canada

Planning to study in Canada? You will have to decide whether you will stay or leave before completing university. A 4-point guide that will help you work and settle in Canada.

Why study in Canada? Why does a young student living in India, China, Vietnam, or any other emerging county want to study in Canada?

A holistic approach towards higher education, more research opportunities, qualified and experienced faculties, introductions to potential employers, networking opportunities with seniors, fellow students, and juniors—there are many reasons to study in Canada.

The answer to the ‘why study in Canada’ question boils down to one simple point—the recognition, credibility, reputation, and career opportunities associated with a foreign degree from a reputed educational institution.

But merely studying in Canada won’t be enough. To really leverage the advantage, you need to answer a very important question. Whether you get this right or not will, ultimately, determine how successful you will be after graduating with a Canadian degree.

After the Degree…What?

Multiple surveys in different Canadian provinces show that, when entering the country, just one in every four international students in Canada is clear about staying in Canada after graduation.  75 percent of the international students entering Canada have no clarity on whether they want to stay and work in Canada or return home after graduation.

And this decision is very important for the following reasons.

Express Entry PR

You need at least one year of work experience to qualify for permanent residence through Express Entry’s FSWP.

If you are clear about your long-term plans, then you can start working as a student, acquire the work experience over your study program, get a job after graduation, and become a Canadian permanent resident within 12 months of graduation.

PNP International Graduate Options

If studying in Canada is the first step and you plan on building your career in the country, then you should prefer provinces that have International Graduate PNP streams over other provinces. These streams rarely require work experience, which means you can qualify for PR nomination based on your degree and a job offer from an employer in the province.

Job or Entrepreneur?

 If your ambition is to become an entrepreneur in Canada, then you can focus on provinces with PNP streams for International Graduate entrepreneurs. Or you can use your time in Canada as international students to explore startup ideas, secure funding from Designated Organizations, and qualify under the Federal Startup Visa program.

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 Pilot Immigration Programs

Having a clear idea about your post-graduation plans can prove very helpful when selecting the best province to study in Canada. The Atlantic Immigration program offers an easy route to direct PR if you graduate from one of the four Atlantic provinces. All you need is a job offer by the graduation and you are set for life.

The community pilot program allows communities in Canada to nominate candidates for PR, which mean you will have to focus on not just provinces but communities as well when explore post-study immigration options.

If you select a good educational institution in a suitable community, then you just need to focus your efforts on integrating into the community and getting a suitable job. Obviously, you cannot explore this option after you graduate unless you have, by sheer luck, chosen a community that is participating in the pilot program.

Here’s the Right Strategy to Study in Canada

 It may not be possible for you to finalize your post-study strategy even before you start studying in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean you need to wait for the last minute either. Here are some actionable points you can consider even if you don’t have clarity.

    • Work experience counts. Even if you plan on returning to your country or moving to some other country after graduating, still work experience related to your course of study will always be a good thing. If you decide to stay, then it can boost your chances of getting a job and TFWP work permit or even direct PR.
    • If you want more time to decide, then explore a Master’s or Ph.D. degree in Canada. You can use the undergraduate course to understand your options and opt for the advanced degree to improve your PR chances.
    • Work with a reputed and experienced immigration attorney so that you total clarity about your eligibility and immigration prospects once you decide to stay in Canada.

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