How to move to Canada as a student?

There are a number of ways to move to Canada depending on your circumstances in Pakistan.

Pakistan is one of the top source countries of new immigrants to Canada. In 2021, more than 8,400 Pakistan citizens moved to Canada, making it the tenth-largest source country overall. It is also in the top 20 source countries of international students—about 3,400 came to Canada in 2021. In 2020, Pakistan was the fourth leading country of citizenship of invited Express Entry candidates.

Further, the latest available census data indicates there are about 202,000 Canadians with Pakistani ancestry. The largest share of the Pakistan diaspora lives in Ontario, especially Toronto, Mississauga, and Milton. On the west coast, Vancouver also has a large Pakistani community.

The best way to immigrate to Canada will entirely depend on your goals. There are more than 100 economic immigration pathways available. Choosing one is like finding the right key to a lock.

We are going to focus on one of the most popular permanent residence pathways: i.e. immigrating as a student.

Immigrating to Canada as a Student

Canada is one of the world’s leading destinations for international students, hosting more than 600,000 students from all over the world. International students are attracted to Canadian schools for their high quality of education; opportunities to work during the school year, academic breaks, and after graduation; as well as the pathways to permanent residency that become available to international student graduates.

There are more than 1,500 Designated Learning Institutions in Canada, which accept international students. Graduates of these institutions may be able to go on to get an open work permit, and stay in Canada for up to three years after graduation.

In order to study in Canada, you first need to be accepted to a Canadian school. Once you get your letter of acceptance, you can then apply for a study permit.

After graduation, international students may be able to stay in Canada for up to three years (depending on the length of the study program) on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). To be eligible, international students must have studied full time in person for at least eight months. Those who studied online between the spring of 2020 and August 2022 can still use that time toward PGWP eligibility.

Student Direct Stream

Students from Pakistan who wish to study in Canada may be eligible to get a study permit faster through the Student Direct Stream (SDS).

Canada aims to process all SDS study permit applications in 20 days.

To submit an application for a Canadian study permit through the SDS, you must:

  • provide a copy of a letter of acceptance from a Canadian Designated Learning Institution;
  • present a confirmation document for your upfront medical exam;
  • prove that you have a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) of $10,000
  • prove that tuition fees for the first year of study are paid;
  • show proof that you either completed studies at a Canadian curriculum high school or show proof of a language test results demonstrating an IELTS score of 6 in English or NCLC 7 for French; and
  • submit the application at a Visa Application Centre (VAC).

If you are approved, you will get a letter of introduction and a temporary resident visa to come to Canada. You will then present it to a visa officer upon arrival in Canada.

Pakistan citizens cannot be residing in another country at the time of applying for a study permit through the SDS program.

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