In 2022, Statistics Canada conducted a study that examined the correlation between immigrants who studied in Canada before migrating and their post-immigration earnings. The research showed that international students who gained work experience in Canada and applied for permanent residency through economic class immigration streams earned significantly more than those without Canadian study experience.
The Benefits of Canadian Study Experience
One of the study’s key findings was that applicants with Canadian study experience earned more than those without for the first two years after immigrating to Canada. This was attributed to their better official language skills and Canadian work experience, which they gained through the opportunity to work while studying and eligibility for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after graduation.
Furthermore, immigrants who had studied in Canada were typically younger, better educated, and more proficient in the official languages of Canada. They also had higher earnings before becoming permanent residents than those who had not studied in Canada.
Long-Term Benefits of Canadian Study Experience
Although immigrants with Canadian study experience initially earned less than those without, the study found that this trend reversed in the long term. As immigrants gained more work experience in the Canadian labor market, Canadian study experience became more valuable than any pre-immigration qualities. After ten years, Canadian study experience was the most significant factor in post-immigration earnings.
The study attributed this to the formal education received by immigrants in Canadian learning institutions, which gave them highly desirable occupational skills for the Canadian labor market. It also enabled them to integrate better into Canadian society, communities, and the economy.
How to Gain Study Experience in Canada
To gain study experience in Canada, one must select and apply to a Canadian-designated learning institution (DLI) such as a university or college. After receiving a letter of acceptance from the DLI, one can apply for a study permit from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
To be eligible for a study permit, one must demonstrate adequate financial support to cover the first year of tuition, living expenses, and return transportation to their home country. They must also provide a police clearance certificate and a completed medical examination to the IRCC to prove they have no criminal record and are in good health, respectively.
The Pathway from Study to Permanent Residency
International students who graduate from a post-secondary institution in Canada can extend their stay and become permanent residents. Many federal and provincial immigration programs value candidates with Canadian education and work experience, making it an advantage for students who have them.
After completing their education, international students become eligible for a PGWP that allows them to work in Canada for up to three years. With a PGWP, students can apply to several federal and provincial permanent residence programs, such as the Express Entry and the Provincial Nominee Programs.
To qualify for a PGWP, international students must have completed a study program at a DLI leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, be a full-time student, and have a transcript plus a letter from the DLI proving their completion of the study program.
The study conducted by Statistics Canada highlights the benefits of studying in Canada for immigrants. International students who gain work experience and apply for permanent residency through economic class immigration streams have higher post-immigration earnings than those without Canadian study experience.