How A Student Can Make The Transition To Permanent Resident Of Canada

The government has also adapted its immigration programs to make it easier for people to transition from being foreign students in Canada to becoming permanent residents.

They’ve made changes over the last few years and some over the last few months to make it much easier, so that Canada is more likely to retain those people who want to stay. People who graduate from Canadian educational programs can get work permits after they graduate, so they gain some work experience, making them better qualified to immigrate. The problem with some of the earlier programs is that they were fairly restrictive and unless you did it exactly the right way, you didn’t qualify. What the government did, just a few months ago, is change the program to grant post-graduate work permits on a much more generous basis. Previously, the work permits were 1 to 2 years depending on where you went to school and for how long. Now, the government has increased the time period up to 3 years, and the real benefit is that, instead of requiring a student to first go and find an employer who’s willing to go through this process and hire them, they’re now granted open work permits.

The foreign student who has just graduated can go to a job interview and not have to tell the employer that he has to apply for approval before the student can get a work permit. The employer used to , in effect, sponsor the graduate. Now, the student has an open work permit and can start working right away. That makes it so much easier for the students and their employers. Also, the extension of the period of time to up to 3 years, depending on how long the student was in school, should facilitate most of these students getting permanent residence during the course of that work permit. They’re not stuck in a gap where they have to go back home and wait for processing, or where they have to try to find some other way to qualify for a work permit before they get qualified for permanent residence.

If a student can get a skilled worker designation with arranged employment classification, they will be fast tracked in the immigration process, and they’re more likely to succeed and more likely to succeed faster. There are 2 different ways to get this classification. If you’re working in Canada and your employer offers you a permanent position in writing, and it is a skilled occupation, that will qualify for what they call arranged employment. If you’ve taken a break and are not working at that time, but have an employer here who’s willing to hire you on a permanent basis and will go through a fairly straightforward government approval process, you can also get the credit for arranged employment that will put you into priority processing.

A new program is just being developed and we expect it to be introduced late in 2008. It is called the Canadian Experience Class, and this program will enable people who have either worked or studied in Canada in an approved way to obtain permanent residence without ever having to leave Canada. They’ll likely be processed through the Case Processing Center in Buffalo, New York, and the applicant can be in Canada while the process is going on. The specific qualifications for this program are under development now and the formal announcement hasn’t been made, but in preliminary discussions it’s been suggested that somebody who does a 2-year degree or diploma program or somebody who’s worked for 1 year in a qualifying occupation will be eligible to apply to this program. There will still be some requirements for educational ability or qualifications, perhaps work experience, and certainly language ability. This class will be given priority over the skilled worker category.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with immigration law issues in the Calgary, Alberta Region, contact Sherritt Greene Barristers & Solicitors for a consultation.

This article is taken from a July 15, 2008 interview with Michael Greene an immigration lawyer with Sherritt Greene Barristers & Solicitors, a Calgary Immigration Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.