International Students

Immigration Landmines for Students

While studying in Canada is an excellent path to permanent residence, there are many landmines an international student will want to avoid along the way.

Here are some pieces of advice we have for students:

  • Post-graduation work permits (PGWP): Each international student is only allowed ONE post-graduation work permit, so use it wisely! There are no renewals and no second permits, even if you return to study in another full-time program.

  • Ineligible post-secondary institutions: Not all post-secondary schools or programs qualify under the post-graduation work permit program. It's important to make sure that both your school and program qualify before investing the time and money into studying.

  • Working illegally: While your study permit allows you to work in Canada, there are limitations and restrictions that you need to be familiar with. Any period of unauthorized work (even if it happens by accident) can cause serious problems for your future immigration applications - make sure you know your conditions of work before taking on any new job.

  • Dropping out (and losing status): Thinking of taking a break from school? Your status in Canada will expire 90 days from the date on which you stop studying - even if the expiry date on your study permit comes later. If you are planning to leave your academic program, you may need to first apply for a work permit or visitor record to avoid being without status in Canada.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, please contact us at (416) 548-9101, or by by email at

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program and How it Works

One of the most important benefits of studying in Canada is the ability to qualify for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). The PGWP program allows international students who have completed a qualifying program at an approved post-secondary institution to obtain an open work permit. Only certain universities and colleges offer programs that are eligible for the PGWP.

In February, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada indicated for the first time which Canadian schools offer eligible programs. You can find this list here. The PGWP program is an essential step for foreign students to gain the high-skilled Canadian work experience they need to apply for permanent residence.  

Here are some of the key details on the PGWP program:

  • You must apply for a PGWP within 90 days of receiving written confirmation that you have met the requirements of your program. This can include: final transcripts, a letter, your degree, etc. After the 90-day period, you are no longer eligible to participate for a PGWP. 
  • You must hold a valid study permit in order to apply for the PGWP.
  • Once you have received written confirmation that you have met the requirements of your program, you are no longer authorized to continue working on your study permit. You may resume working upon submission of the PGWP application.
  • The length of your program of study determines the validity of your PGWP:
    • If your program was between 8 months and less than 2 years, your PGWP validity may match the length of the program.
    • If your program lasted 2 years or more, your PGWP may be valid for 3 years.
  • Some students who complete 2 programs (the second of which is a post-graduate program started within 2 years of the completion of the first program) may also be eligible for a 3-year PGWP.
  • You may only have one PGWP in your lifetime - there are no renewals, and no second permits even if you return to full-time studies.

If you are planning to study in Canada, it is critical to plan so to ensure you maximize the validity of your PGWP and obtain the Canadian work experience you need to qualify for permanent residence.

If you are already studying in Canada, it is vital to prepare early to ensure your application is submitted on time and without mistakes.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, contact us at (416) 548-9101 or by email at

Updates for New OINP for Graduate Students and Express Entry Applicants

We have received further information regarding Ontario's Immigrant Nominee Program for Masters Graduate, PhD Graduate, and Express Entry Human Capital Priorities which may open as early as this afternoon.  Here are some of the key details:

  • There have been dramatic changes to how applications will be processed.  These include:

    • All applications will be submitted online.
    • The applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.
    • Once an application has been registered, a full application will have to be submitted within 7 days.
    • The province will place temporary pauses on these categories once a certain number of applications have been registered.

  • A few changes were made to the eligibility criteria.  These include:

    • The Masters program will allow students to apply from outside of Canada.
    • There will no longer be a limit of 45 days to submit an application under the Human Capital Priorities stream (the Express Entry category for those who have over 400 points) after an invitation has been received from the province.
    • CELPIP results will now be accepted.

Given the length of time that the programs have been closed, we are expecting that the available spots will fill up quickly.  In light of the above circumstances, it is vital that your application be submitted as soon as possible and without mistakes.

To speak with one of our lawyers to discuss your case, contact us at
(416) 548-9101 or

Changes Announced to the Express Entry Program

The government announced yesterday significant changes to the Express Entry program that are to come into effect on November 19, 2016. These changes will alter how points are awarded within the current system. The most significant changes include the following: 

  • Points will now be awarded to applicants that graduate from Canadian post- secondary institutions. Applicants will now earn either 15 or 30 points depending on the type and length of program that they graduated from.

  • The number of points awarded for having a valid LMIA has been drastically reduced from 600 points to either 50 or 200 points depending on the NOC code that the LMIA is based on.

  • Points will now be awarded for many employer specific non-LMIA work permits. Applicants will be able to receive either 50 or 200 points depending on the NOC code that the work permit is based on.

  • The timeline to submit a full application, once the invitation to apply has been issued, will be increased from 60 days to 90 days.

These are just some of the most significant changes that were announced. We will be hosting a free webinar to discuss these changes further. Here are the details:

Title: Express Entry Updates

Date: November 28, 2016

Time: 6PM EST

Fee: Free

To Register: Click Here

Please note space is limited

You can also book a consultation to determine how these changes may effect your application, or to see if you will qualify for permanent residency under the new system, by contacting us at (416) 548-9101 or at