Immigration Options for International Students Outside of BC

As I discussed in a previous article, the federal government and many of the provinces have, over the last several years, come to recognize that international students make great potential immigrants. As a result, various avenues have opened up to allow international students to work in Canada and convert their status to that of a permanent resident.
In this article we will look at some of the options outside of British Columbia for international students seeking to immigrate after graduation.
Each of the other Western provinces, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, has Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) categories targeting international students. In the case of Alberta, they have an International Graduate category very similar to that of BC’s. A graduate must have completed at least a 2-year program at a public university or college in Canada (not necessarily in Alberta) or at a private university authorized to issue degrees in Alberta. After obtaining a post-graduate Work Permit, the applicant must have a permanent, full-time job offer in a skilled position (NOC level 0, A or B) related to their field of study from an Alberta employer. Unlike the BC program, the applicant must work in the position for at least 6 months before applying to the Alberta PNP.
Saskatchewan’s international graduate category is known as the “Post-Graduation Work Permit Stream”. To qualify, an applicant must have completed a full-time program of study in Canada of at least one academic year (8 months) in duration and worked for at least 6 months in Saskatchewan. This work experience can be obtained while studying in the province through an off-campus or co-op Work Permit. The applicant must also have obtained a permanent, full-time job offer from a Saskatchewan employer, but the offer does not have to be related to the applicant’s studies.
In addition, Saskatchewan also has a Master’s and PhD Stream for those who have obtained post-graduate degrees from the University of Saskatchewan or the University of Regina. Under this stream, applicants can qualify after having worked in Saskatchewan for 6 months, obtaining a job offer in the province in their field of training for a term of at least 6 months, having a spouse employed in a permanent position in the province, or having enough savings to sustain themselves without work for a short period of time.
Manitoba, which was the first province in Canada to establish a PNP, requires that international graduate applicants study in their province or elsewhere in Canada for at least 8 months (one academic year) and obtain a certificate, diploma or degree. An international student applicant can apply under the Manitoba PNP after obtaining a full-time, long-term offer of employment from a Manitoba employer and working in that position for at least 6 months while on a Post-graduate Work Permit. One of the most appealing aspects of this program is that, after you complete your studies in Canada and begin working in Manitoba, you are eligible for a 60% income tax rebate on tuition fees up to a maximum of $25,000. So, for example, if you paid a total $40,000 in tuition while studying, you can claim a rebate of $24,000 over the course of the several years after you begin working Manitoba.
Manitoba also has an “International Students Strategic Initiative” category designed for students who have lived and studied in Manitoba for at least two years. It allows such individuals to apply to the Manitoba PNP upon completing an employment readiness program, even before they have a job offer in the province.
It is clear that, in Western Canada at least, the provinces are competing to attract international students as immigrants. There has never been a better time to be an international student in Canada interested in becoming a permanent resident. The options for transitioning from study to employment to immigration are numerous and attractive.
For more information, visit for links to all the PNP websites or call J. Kenney Consulting at +1-604-649-2627 to schedule a free consultation.