Foreign students who come to Canada to study are often looking for a lot more than a good education.
For many this is a necessary first step in earning 67 points and meeting other criteria for an eventual Skilled Worker application for permanent residence.
In order to meet the programs criteria, many students launch a plan that begins with an application for a Canadian study permit.
Diplomas or degrees earned may yield additional points under the programs education criteria. For example, a two-year college diploma nets 20 points while a Ph.D. scores 25. Foreign students may also qualify for a bonus of five points if they completed a program of full-time study of at least two years’ duration at a post-secondary institution in Canada under a study permit, whether or not they obtained an educational credential for completing the program.
The last step in the master plan is getting a “post-graduation” work permit so that they can fulfill the requirement of having at least one year of continuous full-time employment experience (or the equivalent in continuous part-time employment) prior to the making of the application for permanent residence. A bonus of five points is awarded for this experience if gained in Canada. This employment may also help graduates raise the minimum settlement funds needed of newcomers to Canada.
This final stage is the one fraught with the most risks.
Firstly, graduates must have a written offer of temporary employment that is consistent with their recently completed course of study.
Secondly, they must apply for the work permit within 90 days of “formal written notification by the institution” that they have met the requirements of the course of study or program.
Lastly, they will only be issued the work permit if they were engaged in full-time studies at a university, community college, CEGEP, publicly funded trade or technical school or at a private institution authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees.
Many students are unaware of this last requirement and only find out, way too late, when their work permit application is refused because the private college that they were attending does not meet this requirement. Often, this oversight is only discovered when they have run out of time and money and when they have no legal option but to pack up and go home.
Rather thanfocusing on back-to-school specials, foreign students entering or continuing such programs should ensure that their private institution is authorized to confer degrees. It may be worth the time spent.
Guidy Mamann is the senior lawyer at Mamann & Associates and is certified by the Law Society as an immigration specialist. Reach him at 416-862-0000. Direct confidential questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.