A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada and has access to social benefits including health care coverage, the right to live, work or study anywhere in Canada and apply for Canadian citizenship.
Temporary residents in Canada (including international students and post-graduation work permit holders) who are interested to live longer in Canada can apply for Permanent Resident (PR) through available PR categories if they meet eligibility requirements.
Federal and provincial governments in Canada offer over 60 different programs to foreign nationals in Canada and abroad to immigrate and become permanent residents. The right program depends on candidate’s qualifications and circumstances. However, the common pathways to PR for international students and graduates are:
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC)*
- Federal skilled Worker (FSW)
- Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)
CEC is the most common program for post-graduation work permit holders with at least 1-year full time Canadian work experience in NOC skill type 0, A or B within the past 3 years. Please note that the work experience (co-op, on and off-campus) while you are studying in a full-time degree program or self-employed is not eligible for CEC.
OINP International Masters Graduates is a popular stream for Masters Gradates who has completed a full-time Masters Degree program (at least one year) at a publicly funded university in Ontario. No job offer is required but the applicant should intend to live and work in Ontario.
FSW is recommended to those who don’t have one-year full-time Canadian work experience but at least one-year continuous full-time foreign work experience in NOC skill type 0, A or B within the past 10 years. The applicant must also meet the minimum requirements based on selection factors in FSW points grid.
If you are planning to live and work in a certain province or territory in Canada, look into Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP). Each province and territory has its own criteria and requirements.
If you have a spouse or common-law partner who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident willing to sponsor you to immigrate to Canada, Family Sponsorship might be a suitable category.
PR programs are constantly updated. Please check IRCC website regularly to select the best program that matches your qualification and immigration goals.
- Language Tests: CEC, FSW and most of the PNPs require a language test to meet the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) of the program regardless of your country of origin. The approved language tests are:
- “CELPIP General” and “IELTS General” for English test and TEF for French test (if applicable)
- To get more information, please visit language tests equivalency charts.
- National occupation Classification (NOC): is a system used by the Government of Canada to classify jobs. NOC Skill type O, A and B (Skilled jobs) are management, professional and technical jobs respectively which mostly require a university degree or college diploma.
Express Entry (EE), introduced in 2015 by IRCC, is used to manage applications for certain federal immigration programs including CEC and FSW. Express Entry is not a PR category.
Express Entry Profile:
If the potential candidates meet the minimum requirements of one the programs assessed under Express Entry (CEC and FSW), they create an online Express Entry profile, and will be accepted in a pool of qualified candidates. Candidates will be ranked against others in the pool using a point-based system called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS). The highest-ranking candidates in the pool will be invited to apply for permanent residence.
To create an EE profile, you need to have a valid language test score that meets the program requirements. In addition, if you have a foreign degree, diploma or certificate that you want to be considered for EE and receive CRS points, you need to get an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) to verify that your foreign credential is valid and equal to a Canadian one.
Candidates can stay in the pool for a period of 12 months. If they do not receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for PR within 12 months of submitting an EE profile, they may create a new profile. If they still meet the criteria of the programs processed under EE, they can re-enter the pool.
There is no official time frame for receiving an ITA after submitting an EE profile and entering the pool. Candidates have to update their profile to reflect any changes in their status such as work experience, education credentials, language ability, and family composition. Higher language test scores and education credentials as well as more years of work experience may increase CRS score and the chances of receiving an ITA faster. We encourage candidates to be patient while waiting to receive an ITA.
According to IRCC, most applicants who receive ITA under the Express Entry system will see their electronic permanent residence applications processed within six months or less.
Please visit Express Entry Q and A to learn more about EE system.
Maintaining PR Status
Once you are a permanent resident, you will receive a PR card which is valid for 5 years. To maintain your status, you have to live in Canada for 730 days in a five-year period. You may lose your PR status, if you don’t meet the residency requirement. If you are a permanent resident, you need to have a valid PR card to travel back to Canada.
To apply for your PR card or renew it please visit:
Canadian Citizens have the right to vote in Canadian elections, live or work anywhere they choose in Canada, enter and leave the country freely, and apply for a passport.
To apply for Canadian citizenship, you must have a PR status and meet certain conditions in areas such as residency in Canada, language skills, income tax filing. To determine your eligibility and apply for Citizenship, please visit IRCC website.
You are eligible to apply for your Canadian passport, once you become a Canadian Citizen.
Hiring a Paid Representative
Students and graduates applying for Permanent Residency in Canada have the option of hiring a legal paid representative to assist with the application. Hiring a representative however is not mandatory. It is common for international students to apply for Permanent Residency without any hired help
Students who choose to hire a representative to assist with the Permanent Residency application process are advised to verify whether he/she is licensed to provide legal advising and/or representation. If you would like tips on choosing an immigration representative, please consult the IRCC website.
Talk to an Immigration Advisor
If you have questions about Permanent Residency and Citizenship, please contact the International student Centre (ISC) to book an in-person or phone appointment with the Immigration Advisor.
Phone: (416) 287-7518
When contacting ISC please include your name, student #, your inquiry and your contact number.
Address: Instructional Centre building, IC350
University of Toronto Scarborough
1095 Military Trail
Toronto, ON M1C 1A4