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Going Back to School in Canada: To Study or Not To Study - Russ Weninger Immigration Lawyer in Calgary, AB :: Russ Weninger Immigration Lawyer in Calgary, AB
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Foreign workers who have run out of time on a work permit sometimes consider going back to school. This potentially serves three purposes. First of all, it can buy a foreign worker additional time in Canada. Secondly, studying in Canada usually increases a person’s Express Entry points and this may increase a would-be immigrant’s chances of successfully immigrating to Canada down the road. Thirdly, studying in Canada usually qualifies a foreign student for a post-graduate work permit down the road.

That being said, obtaining a study permit is not necessarily that easy to do. And even if you obtain a study permit, in many cases obtaining a study permit will not significantly increase your chances of eventually immigrating to Canada. To determine whether a study permit application is right for you, you should consider the following.

Will You Even Qualify for a Study Permit?

Obtaining a study permit is by no means a given. A would-be international student first of all has to be accepted into a Canadian post-secondary institution. Assuming this happens, the prospective student then has to convince Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada that he or she has the funds to pay for the program and that he or she is genuinely interested in the program of study, and not simply attempting to make use of student status as a way of remaining in Canada. Older applicants and applicants with a gap in their education will have a tougher time qualifying for study permits. Applicants without significant financial resources simply aren’t viable candidates for study permits.

Will Your Study Permit Increase Your Express Entry Points?

Whether studying in Canada will increase your Express Entry points depends on your circumstances. If you are an older student, you may gain Express Entry points for studying in Canada but also lose points because you are that much older by the time you graduate. If your proposed education is for a short duration or does not increase your highest level of education, having this extra credential may not increase your overall Express Entry points. Also, studying English as a Second Language (ESL) will not increase your educational points under Express Entry, though it may increase your language test scores and thereby increase your Express Entry points related to language proficiency.

Will You Qualify for a Post-Graduate Work Permit Upon Graduation?

Even if you qualify for a study permit, obtaining a post-graduate work permit is not necessarily a given. If you are studying ESL or a program that is less than one academic year, you won’t qualify for a post-graduate work permit. Also, if you have previously obtained a post-graduate work permit, you are ineligible for a new PGWP.

Is the Expense Worth the Chance of Immigrating to Canada?

Studying in Canada is quite pricey. A rule of thumb is that you can expect to pay at least $10,000 to $15,000 per year in international student tuition. On top of that, you will have to support yourself, and as a student, you are only legally allowed to work up to 20 hours a week while you are taking classes. In other words, being a student typically means losing money, at least in the short term.

If going back to school could guarantee successful immigration to Canada it would perhaps be worth the investment. Likewise, if going back to school could successfully increase a person’s chances of immigration success, it might be worth the cost. But in many cases, going back to school is only buying a few extra months or a few extra years in Canada. If you are attempting to decide whether going back to school is a viable immigration strategy, you must consider your own circumstances. If an extra Canadian credential will push you over the top in terms of Express Entry points, then it is worth considering. Otherwise, it probably isn’t worth the time and money.


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