How To Get PR in Canada As A PhD Student

Let us discuss how to get PR in Canada as a PhD student. But before we hit the ground running, we have to look at one or two things that may come in handy in this post. Such as the Eligibility Criteria for Canadian permanent residency. You can also read our previous post where we wrote on “PhD students guide to Canadian PR”.

As a PhD student in Canada, there are at least two different routes of immigrating to Canada as a permanent resident given the nature of your study – PhD. You can either apply through the Express Entry system as a federal skilled worker or through the Quebec Skilled Worker Program. The first and foremost step is to make sure that you’re eligible to apply and prepare a checklist of things that you need to do to apply for permanent residency.

What is Permanent Residency?

Canadian permanent residency (PR) is a status that allows international students/nationals to live and work in Canada on a permanent basis. It is not equivalent to Canadian citizenship, but it is the step that comes before citizenship. Canada, as a country, is composed of different provinces and territories that are independent in overseeing immigration programs.

A permanent resident can live, study or work anywhere in Canada and can enjoy most benefits in Canada, including certain healthcare coverage, social benefits, and a quality life without any disturbance. Among the different permanent residency programs, some popular ones include:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker
  • Family Sponsorship and
  • Canadian Experience Class.

How To Get PR in Canada As A PhD Student

  1. Complete Your PhD Program

Well, to begin with, you will need to thoroughly complete your PhD program as this is the first qualification you need before you can apply. This means that you must meet all the requirements for your degree and not just the minimum required.

This also means that you must ensure that you will be able to do so before you reach the end of your post-graduation work permit. If you are not able to complete your PhD program before your post-graduation work permit expires, you may still be eligible to apply for permanent residency in Canada.

  1. Meet Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Criteria for Canadian PR for PhD StudentsBesides being enrolled in your PhD program or having recently graduated, you must also satisfy several other criteria to qualify for permanent residency. You also have to pass a medical exam and get a police certificate. Moreover, you generally must not be inadmissible to Canada for any reason. You may be considered “inadmissible” if you have a dangerous medical condition, a criminal record, or other circumstances that make you or someone else a security risk.

It is important to remember that the requirements for permanent residency through Express Entry are set by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). While meeting these criteria and going through the application process can seem daunting and stressful, many people successfully obtain permanent residency in Canada every year. With careful planning and attention to the specific requirements of your chosen immigration pathway, it is possible to move through each step of the process as efficiently as possible.

  1. Explore Express Entry System

Express Entry is an online application management system used by IRCC to manage and process applications for permanent residence. The Express Entry system follows a merit-based approach, under which a candidate’s eligibility is determined based on their age, level of education, work experience, and language proficiency. Through this program, a prospective candidate creates an online profile using a form provided on the IRCC’s website.

After the profile is properly set up, the candidate is required to submit an electronic application for permanent residency. The profile includes information regarding the candidate’s skills, work experience, language ability, education, and other details.

  1. Consider Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs)

PNPs are designed to allow Canada’s individual provinces and territories to nominate individuals who express an interest in settling in a particular province and/or territory and who will be able to contribute to that province or territory’s economic development. As with the Express Entry system, you and any accompanying family members will have to meet certain eligibility criteria.

It should be noted that a given province or territory may offer different streams or categories under its PNP and each stream may have its own requirements. You can consult the immigration website of the province or territory in which you are interested in to learn more.

  1. Prepare Required Documentation

Some key documents required to apply for permanent residency in Canada include a language test that proves your ability to communicate in either English or French and a police clearance certificate from each country or territory in which you have been present for six or more months in a row in the last ten years. Aside from these more universal documents, specific required documentation can vary a little depending on the type of permanent residency for which you are set to apply.

For general permanent residency through Express Entry as a Canadian experience class candidate, you will need a digital photo and copies of the pages of your passport which show personal details and the passport’s origin. If any document isn’t in English or French, it must be accompanied by a certified translation and an affidavit from the person who completed the translation.

  1. Wait for an Invitation to Apply (ITA)

Once you submit your Express Entry profile or PNP application, all you can do is wait. Your profile will be placed in the pool of candidates, and you will be awarded some points based on the information you included in your profile. Every two weeks, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Express Entry System draw the candidates who have the highest rankings and send them Invitations to Apply (ITAs) for permanent residency.

If you are selected, you will receive an ITA and now only you will have ninety days to complete the second step of the application process. It can take anywhere from a few days to months to receive an ITA, so be patient and be ready for any situation. It is very important to check your email regularly and read all the emails from IRCC because if you miss the ITA your profile will be removed from the pool after the expiry of the invitation and you have to create a new one.

  1. Complete Medical and Security Checks

After receiving ITA, where you will have approximately up to 90 days to submit the permanent residency application, the next step before submission is to complete medical and security checks. First, you will be referred to do a medical examination with a panel of physicians approved by IRCC.

Do not do the medical exam before you receive the ITA because the security validity of the result will last for a while only. It typically takes around 3-4 weeks to get the result of the medical exam and they will be sent directly to IRCC for further processing.

For the security checks, you and your dependents (spouse and children above 18) are needed to get the police certificates in all countries where you have spent 6 months or longer in a row within the last 10 years from the day you are requested to do so. The purpose of this step is to ensure that there is no criminal inadmissibility to Canada by making sure the applicant who becomes a permanent resident will not pose a security risk to Canada.

  1. Submit Permanent Residency Application

After you receive your ITA, the next step is to submit your permanent residency application. You will be required to upload the following documents on your Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) account within 60 days, though the exact documents may sometimes differ from case to case. These are generally the necessary documents to submit:

  • A digital copy of your passport biodata page
  • Digital photograph of yourself
  • Police certificate or clearance from each country you lived in since the age of 18 for six months or longer and for your accompanying dependents
  • Proof of sale of property and assets
  • A digital copy of your ITA letter
  • All supporting documents (e.g. proof of funds, police clearance and medical results etc.)
  • Digital copy of your ECA report
  • Language tests result.

You might not have all the documents ready at the time you receive the ITA. Therefore, you are required to submit a letter of explanation and proof that you have requested and paid for the document(s). In this case, you can submit the additional document(s) any time before a decision is made on your application but no additional documents can be submitted after.

  1. Await Decision and Confirmation

After submitting your application for permanent residency through Express Entry or a Provincial Nominee Program, you will need to eagerly await the decision of your application. The duration of waiting for the application to be processed depends on many factors including the volume of applications the immigration office is handling when you applied, the type of application you made as well as your personal case and background.

While the waiting can be both stressful and overwhelming, many successful applicants found that a positive mindset with proactive planning for their future in Canada as a permanent resident makes this journey more meaningful and purposeful.


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