Pathways to Permanent Residency

Visitors, study permit holders, and work permit holders are considered temporary residents. The Federal Government and the Provincial Governments in Canada have developed various pathways to allow temporary residents to become "Permanent Residents" (PR) and remain in Canada "permanently" as a first step towards becoming Canadian citizens.

To comprehend the requirements for these programs; you first need to understand:

Express Entry (EE): An online system used to manage PR applications for eligible skilled workers under the Federal Economic Programs.

National Occupation Classification (NOC): A Canadian system used to classify jobs/occupations. For immigration purposes, the main groups that are eligible under the Federal Economic Programs are those with skill types 0 (management jobs), A (professional jobs usually requiring university degree) or B (technical jobs usually requiring college diploma).

Here are the common pathways international students studying at the U of A can follow to apply for a PR:

Federal Economic Programs managed through the "Express Entry" online system:

A. Canadian Experience Class
B. Federal Skilled Worker Program

Alberta Advantage Immigration Pathway (AAIP), previously known as Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program):

A. Alberta Opportunity Stream

To access detailed information regarding eligibility criteria, applying, and the next steps after receiving approval from the AAIP under the AOS stream, please visit AAIP.

B. Alberta Express Entry Stream

To access detailed information regarding eligibility criteria, how to apply and the next steps after receiving approval from the AAIP under the Alberta Express Entry stream.

Accelerated Tech Pathway

Candidates currently working for, or have a job offer with, an Alberta-based tech industry employer in an eligible tech occupation may get selected for expedited processing under the Alberta Express Entry stream. This applies to the list of eligible Accelerated Tech Pathway occupations.

Candidates who meet the requirements under the Accelerated Tech Pathway must complete and submit the Accelerated Tech Pathway form. Following this, the AAIP will review if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements under this pathway.

C. Rural Renewal Stream

To access detailed information regarding eligibility criteria, community designation, how to apply and next steps after receiving approval under the Rural Renewal Stream, please visit AAIP.

In addition to these requirements, all applicants applying under the previous programs have to:

  • Be admissible to Canada
  • Plan to live outside the province of Quebec (note: in the case of applying under the Alberta Opportunity Stream; you need to be living in the province of Alberta)

Frequently asked questions: Express Entry

A. Do I need to hire the services of an Immigration Consultant or Lawyer for help with setting up my EE profile and/or applying for PR?

No, IRCC states all applications are treated equally regardless of whether they hire an Immigration Consultant or Lawyer. Many international students have been able to navigate the information available on the IRCC website and the respective guides to apply for a PR on their own successfully. However, if you prefer to seek external help, you may contact an immigration consultant or immigration lawyer to act as your representative to file for PR. 

Before you hire an Immigration Consultant or Lawyer, you are advised to learn more about representatives and how to choose an immigration representative.

B. I have a job offer using my Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP); will I get the additional 200 points or 50 points towards my CRS score?
No. In most cases, a valid job offer must be supported by a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which the employer would have to apply for through Employment and Social Development Canada/Service Canada, or it must be one of the eligible LMIA exempt job offers for Express Entry. The job offer you get because you hold a PGWP is not considered "eligible" for additional points under the CRS.
C. What happens after I create an Express Entry profile?
D. What am I supposed to do while I'm in the Express Entry pool?
  • Start preparing the required supporting documents. It can take time to secure, such as police certificates (for you and any of your family members who are 18 years old or older) and employment letters (more information on supporting documents below).
  • Keep your profile up to date (e.g., you start a new job, get married/divorced, adopt/have a new child)
  • Improve your CRS score to increase your chances of being invited (e.g., find a valid job offer, improve your language score, and gain more relevant work experience).
E. What happens if I get an invitation to apply for a PR?

Your EE invitation remains valid for 60 days, and you must submit your complete application to IRCC before the 60-day deadline.

You need to upload the online PR application form and all other supporting documents within that time; supporting documents include:

  • Passport or travel document
  • Language test results
  • Proof of your work experience: letter(s) from a previous employer(s) confirming the length of your experience, job title, and duties (duties must reflect most of the main responsibilities listed under respective NOC)
  • Education credential assessment report if:
    • You're applying through the FSW program OR
    • You want points for the education you got outside Canada.
  • Written job offer from an employer in Canada (if you have one)
  • Police certificates
  • Medical exams (through a designated Panel Physician)
  • Proof of funds (if applicable)
  • You may be required to provide additional documents specific to your case.
F. How much does it cost to apply through Express Entry?

There are no fees to set up your Express Entry profile; however, you are required to pay the fees for the language test and, if applicable, the credential assessment report.

If you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you need to pay:

  • The non-refundable processing fees for you and your family members upon submitting your PR application online ($825/adult and $225/ dependent child)
  • The right of permanent residence fee upon receiving PR approval and before any PR documents are issued ($500/person excluding dependent children)
G. How long does the process take?

You cannot determine how long it takes from the time you set up your EE profile until you get an Invitation to Apply (ITA) and submit your complete application to IRCC; however, the higher your CRS score, the better chance you have of getting an ITA. You can compare your CRS score with past minimum CRS scores of the lowest-ranked candidates invited to evaluate your chances.

Once you receive an ITA, you have 60 days to submit your PR application. Once submitted, most applications get finalized in about six months. 

H. How long will the EE profile remain active?

It automatically expires within 12 months of submitting your EE profile, after which it is removed from the system.

If your profile expires, you need to create a new profile to be considered under EE; we suggest printing a screenshot of your profile to make it easier to re-enter your data the second time.

I. Will my work experience during the time I was studying full time at the University of Alberta count towards my CRS score for Express Entry?

No. Work experience gained while studying full time is not considered "eligible" Canadian work experience under the Canadian Experience Class and is not considered when your CRS score is calculated (see section 15(7) of the respective Ministerial Instructions). However, the work experience gained while you were a full-time student in Canada may be used to meet the work experience requirements under the Federal Skilled Worker category.

J. Can I use the work experience I gained as a co-op student during my study program in Canada or abroad towards my work experience requirement under Canadian Experience Class?
No. Co-op work experience does not count towards the minimum requirements for the Canadian Experience Class.
K. Can I count the work experience I gained while my PGWP application was in process to meet the work eligibility requirement under the Alberta Opportunity Stream and Canadian Experience Class (CEC)?
Yes, if you gained work experience working in Canada while under temporary resident status with authorization to work, you can use this work experience to meet the work eligibility requirement under AOS and CEC.
L. Can I include my family members in my PR application?
Yes. You can include your spouse, common-law partner, dependent children and dependent children of your dependent children in your PR application. Even if your family members do not wish to immigrate to Canada as PR, you must declare all your family members in your PR application. If you don’t include all of your family members in your application:
  • you could be refused entry into Canada, and
  • you may not be able to sponsor the family members you did’t include in your application to come to Canada at a later date.

Learn more

IRCC Webinar March 10, 2022

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