Each year, Canada welcomes hundreds of thousands of students from around the world to our Universities and Colleges. There are many immigration benefits to studying in Canada, and foreign students can achieve Permanent Residence as a result of the opportunities gained by studying in Canada, as long as careful plans are made. However, to gain the benefits of studying in Canada, you first have to be approved for a Canadian study permit. And this is not always as straightforward as it seems.
This article will detail some of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of applying for a study permit to Canada.
A Study Permit is a Temporary Application
Studying in Canada is an exciting opportunity that may eventually allow you to transition to Permanent Residence, but it’s important to remember that for immigration purposes, a study permit application is a temporary status application. That means that the decision you will receive on your study permit application is based upon the officer’s opinion about whether or not you are a bonafide student and whether you will likely leave Canada at the end of your studies.
As with all temporary applications to Canada, the officer must assess the applicant’s ties outside of Canada – to form an opinion as to whether or not you are likely to stay illegally in Canada if approved for a study permit. It’s up to you, the applicant, to include documents to satisfy the officer that you have a good life outside of Canada. Documents related to property ownership, bank accounts, employment history, family connections, past international travel and social activities are all relevant and should be included.
Your Age and Stage of Life Matter
The farther away from the “normal” studying age that you are, the more you should expect your application to be scrutinized. Applicants who have just graduated from High School and are seeking to study University in Canada will receive less scrutiny than 40 something year old professionals from developing nations who suddenly want to study culinary arts in Canada. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) are alert to the idea that many older applicants are wanting to study in Canada as a pathway to achieve Permanent Residence because their age makes an Express Entry application impossible. If you find yourself in the older age bracket, you really do need professional help to ensure that your first study permit application is as solid as possible; and also to understand what your options for achieving Permanent Residence will be if you come to study in Canada. Age does matter for both study permits and Canada PR.
How Much Money Do You Need to Study in Canada?
Canada wants to be certain that international students have sufficient financial resources to take care of themselves when they are living in Canada; therefore, applicants must demonstrate certain minimum levels of funds in order to be approved for a study permit.
The prospective student must show a min of CAD $10,000 for living expenses, plus the cost of the first-year tuition. If the student has any dependents who will come to Canada with the student, an additional $4000 CAD is needed for a spouse or common-law partner and an extra $3000 CAD for each child.
These funds need to be cash or cash equivalents – property ownership or a net worth statement indicating these amounts are not sufficient.
How to Write a Study Plan for Canada
An application to study in Canada should be accompanied by a study plan that answers the basic question, “Why does it make sense for you to study in Canada in this program at this point in your life?” Essentially, the immigration officer needs to understand why you can’t just study the same program at your local university, why you have chosen Canada instead of any other international destination for your education, and what kind of opportunities will you have if you complete this program of study in Canada (that you otherwise would not have). If you are going to spend $40,000 getting a diploma in Canada, are you going to be able to improve your job prospects in your home country to the extent that you will eventually recover this initial $40,000 investment?
Creating a viable study plan is one area that a professional can provide a lot of meaningful assistance. There is no one study plan that is going to make sense for every situation. Your study plan needs to make sense based on your personal situation, the local conditions in your home country, your past study and work history (if any) and your stage in life. Apart from having the necessary funds, a solid study plan is going to be the most important part of your application.
Can International Students Become a Permanent Resident?
Since the introduction of Express Entry, Canada has been discriminating against applicants from overseas who are 40 or older. If you find yourself in this age bracket without any option to immigrate to Canada directly, you may have considered applying as a student in order to gain additional Express Entry points for education, to have the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience points, and to also make yourself eligible for Provincial Nominee Programs. Be forewarned, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada have also realized that many are applying to study as a pathway to Permanent Residence and are alert to applications that follow this pattern.
When you are applying for a temporary entry to Canada, but you actually intend to stay permanently, this is called dual intent. In itself, there is nothing wrong with dual intent, but these kinds of applications need to be carefully presented or you could find yourself with a refusal letter stating that the officer does not think you are a bonafide student. Any mention of hoping to eventually obtain Permanent Residence needs to be balanced with an assessment of how you would eventually qualify for PR, and a detailed explanation of your plans and intentions to return to your home country if you don’t end up qualifying. This is particularly true if you have previously entered an Express Entry profile on the IRCC website. Even if you have withdrawn your profile or it expired, IRCC has the details that you explored this avenue for Permanent Residence in Canada. It is an actual thing that IRCC refuses applications for a study permit when there is evidence of a prior, unsuccessful, Express Entry profile in the system.
The Way Immigration helps students from all over the world, in all stages of life, to prepare successful study permit applications for Canada. Now that artificial intelligence is taking more of a role in decision-making for temporary applications to Canada, it’s become more important than ever to have professional input on your application. Contact our experts today to get started on your dream of studying in Canada!