6 advantages of studying in Canada and how to immigrate through education
Why do so many people choose Canada for their education, how can education help you immigrate, and how can you save money on it?
In 2021, Canada issued 450,000 study permits. That is 450,000 people enrolled in Canadian universities and received study visas. This is a huge number, even a record-breaking for Canada because before the pandemic fewer students were coming.
To be honest, for the Canadian government international students are a business, because studies are expensive and people come with money to spend on housing, food, and other things. That is why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada prioritizes international graduates. There may be even more students this year.
Before the pandemic, just over 400,000 students from abroad came to Canada each year. In 2020, there were only 255,000 due to COVID restrictions. But in 2021, Canada decided to make up for it and issued about 450,000 study visas. And it also became the most sought-after country among students in the world.
In total, there were more than 600,000 international students in Canada at the end of 2021. These people will receive an education recognized around the world and will be able to get a Canadian permanent residency in the future. I will start with the pros of education in Canada, and then I will talk about how to save money on it and how to immigrate afterward.
Quality of education
I have already mentioned the first advantage. The education received in Canada is recognized and even valued all over the world because the country is believed to have a high quality of education. Canada has universities that are among the world’s top. They may not be in the top 10, but, for example, the University of Toronto is ranked 26th, McGill University in Montreal is 27th, I studied there, by the way.
Canadian universities also have a strong emphasis on research, and students can participate in experiments and project work. Sometimes students even manage to make some discoveries. For example, a University of Manitoba graduate developed a device to improve cancer detection, and University of Toronto scientists discovered insulin.
I went to Toronto myself last year for a tour of one of the colleges we send students to. It turned out to be very interesting. If you want to learn a profession in a short time after high school or improve your knowledge of your major, I recommend going to a college rather than a university. Both types of institutions in Canada provide higher education. College usually allows you to learn a profession in a shorter period.
The second advantage is that it is easier to enter Canadian universities than American or British ones. Our clients have no problem with admission. Moreover, this is now one of the most reliable ways of subsequent immigration. Financially, tuition, unfortunately, is not as affordable, because the average cost for a year of study is $15,000 CAD. Although, now the trend is to increase the price of everything.
But immediately the third advantage. It is cheaper than studying in the U.S., and while studying in Canada you can legally work up to 20 hours a week, and up to 40 hours during the holidays, not all countries allow it. The lowest wage in Canada is about $12 CAD per hour. In Ontario, where Toronto and Ottawa are located, it's $15 CAD. If you work 20 hours a week in Ontario, you will earn about $1,200 CAD a month and $10,800 CAD in 9 months. And if you work full-time, 40 hours a week, during the holidays you will make another $7,200 CAD in 3 months. In total, you will earn $18,000 CAD in a year of studying and recoup its cost.
Diversity and the English language
I'll move on to the fourth pro. There are a lot of students from different countries in Canada. Like I said before, over 600,000. You won't be alone among native Canadians, but will probably study in a multicultural group, so no one will look at you as weird, and it will be easier for you to adapt.
Another factor, which for some may be n advantage, is that Canada has English as the official language. Some people think it’s French but it is much less common than English. Almost everyone learns English in school, so most people have at least some knowledge, and it will be easier to get them up to speed than to learn the language from scratch.
Immigration after studying
And the main advantage of obtaining a Canadian education is that it is easier to get permanent residency after. Students who have studied at public universities and colleges are issued a work permit in Canada for a period of 1 to 3 years, so you can legally stay in the country. You only need to study for one year, or to be more precise, 8 months to get a work permit. After that you have several ways:
- apply under a regular immigration program and get extra points for a Canadian education;
- apply under a special program for graduates of Canadian universities, there are quite a lot of them.
Or you can find a job first and then:
- apply under one of the programs that require a job offer;
- work for a while, for example, a year, and apply under programs for those who have experience in Canada;
- choose a regular program and get extra points for education, a job offer, and work experience in Canada.
In general, there are quite a lot of options. After you study in Canada, you will definitely have a high English level, which, again, will give you points in the programs, and you will find it much easier to get a job than applicants from abroad, because you will already be in the country. You could say that a Canadian education almost guarantees permanent residency in Canada. According to statistics for the past 10 years, about three-quarters of foreigners who came to Canada to study and stayed to work, then received permanent residency.
Immigration through education
So how do you get a PR in Canada through education? If you have poor English, you first need to improve it. Then enter a Canadian college or university, but only a public one. Education in private universities is usually 2 to 3 times cheaper, but it will not give you the right to work later. There is a list of designated universities by province on Canada's official website. You do not need to apply to a Canadian university in the fall; there are often admissions in winter and spring too.
It's important to choose an institution not by the lowest price and not even the one you like best. You have to choose a program of study that fits your education or your work experience because you have to show that you will return home after your studies. Of course, you won't be forced to go back, but until you graduate, the government runs the risk that you will be expelled and stay illegally in the country. And when you have completed your studies and obtained a work permit, you become an interesting candidate for immigration. We have an article on our website about professions of the future in Canada that are now in high demand and that you can study for in just 1 or 2 years.
You can usually apply to study on the institution's website. You will need to pay a registration fee of about $100 CAD and upload your documents online. As an immigration company, we partner with a large number of colleges and universities almost all over Canada and can help you with program selection and admission.
Required English level
The important point is the level of English you need to study in Canada. The short answer is any level, even zero. Again, on the websites of educational institutions, you can find the requirements for the beginning of studies, usually, it is IELTS 6.0 Academic. Even without passing the language test, you can get a conditional letter of admission from the university, which will say that you are registered as a student, but you can study only after providing proof of language level.
With this letter of admission, you can already apply for a visa, it is better to do it at least a few months before your study starts. And in the meantime, study the language intensively. We are an agent of the Canadian language school ILAC, I highly recommend it. It has a special online program to learn English and prepare for admission. Many Canadian colleges are willing to take students without IELTS after they study at ILAC.
How much money you need
To apply for a visa, you need to pay for at least 1 term of college or university tuition and show you have the means to live. The minimum is $10,000 CAD for a year of living in Canada, but it is better to show more. You will also need other documents: a motivation letter, by which the visa officer will determine whether you are interested enough to study in Canada. If you are employed, you will need to prepare your employment references. If your parents pay your tuition fees, you need sponsorship documents and various forms.
When you graduate, you apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). There are some requirements, for example, you have to apply within 3 months after graduation, you have to be a full-time student, and have a graduation certificate. The work permit will be open, not tied to any company, which means you will be free to change employers. While the application is being reviewed, you will be able to work full-time. Then you only need to find a suitable immigration program, apply for it, and continue to work until you are granted permanent residency.
You can do all of these steps yourself or contact an immigration consultant, such as our company. It will save you time and even money because when you apply for a study visa by yourself there are often refusals due to some silly mistakes. Here is a trivial example: one person wrote to us that he had been refused a visa. We began to look into the reasons, and it turned out that before applying for a visa, he sold his apartment and put a large sum of money in his account, without explaining where he got it.
Again, we work with universities all over Canada and can find a suitable program for you. Very often our clients save a lot of money because we keep track of promotions. For example, how about a $5,000 CAD discount per year and 12 free weeks of English at ILAC, if you have insufficient proficiency? You can book a primary consultation with us on immigration through education, and if you decide to continue working with us, we will deduct the cost of the consultation from the visa application services.
Alex Pavlenko, founder of Immigrant.Today