If you decide to pursue a degree in Canada, this article for you. Canadian education system is well-recognized all over the world. It competes with UK’s, USA’s, Australia’s, etc., offering high level and quality education while tuition fees are comparatively tolerant. However, if you want to work afterward for a Canadian company or immigrate to Canada permanently, select education institution and study program thoroughly! Consider the following factors: your education and profession back home, language ability, available funds for your stay in Canada, time constraint (if any), what your family members want, and how do you see your future job and life in Canada. Seems very simple but could be crucial for your future.
Education and Profession in your Home Country.
Canadian labor market strictly follows job requirements for certification and licensing. This is very true if your professional occupation is the regulated one in Canada. For instance, if you are a lawyer with ten years experience in your home country. You still have to study at three-year J.D. program at the university or go through the accreditation process with the Law Society of a specific province. So, a plan to take the shortest and cheapest study program and then dive into the profession of a lawyer will not work! The same for doctors, electricians, accountants with CPA accreditation, etc.
So, if you have a clear vision of what your job should be in Canada, make a right choice of a study program even before you apply for a job. And definitely, you can switch professions and start your career in a new field.
Hint! You can explore careers at Job Bank. Just type in the desired occupation and see employment potential and trend in Canada. It’ll show job shortages in some professions in Canada. Take into account these trades, as chances are higher to get a job offer!
Work Experience in your Home Country.
It depends on your occupation. Let’s say if you are IT guy with extensive experience, you’ll probably even don’t need to study in Canada. While in other jobs, you might have studied and had foreign work experience. Still, you will be asked on each interview if you have Canadain work experience. The reason is that Canadian employers in many cases will not rely on your foreign work experience. There are exceptions though!
Hint! If your desired profession is highly competitive in Canada, take a co-op study program at the college or university. At least, you can claim Canadian work experience gained through field placement. Also, look at the licensing requirements and professional yearly fees.
Tuition Fees and Funds for Your Stay in Canada.
Tuition fees vary depending on 1.) Program and 2.) Educational Institution. College fees are cheaper as compared with university fees. For instance, International Business Management Program at George Brown College fee is $13,520 for two semesters to international students. Add application fee ($95), health insurance ($603.34), public transportation ($1,500), and books ($1,200), i.e., additional $3,400 to the tuition fee. At the same time, one-year executive MBA at the University of Toronto fee amounts to $113,775. Admission requirements are different as well. Fees for domestic students are much lower. So, it could be a good thought to immigrate first and then go to school.
Hint! Canada participates in major International Scholarship Programs. So, check if you are eligible to apply for scolarships. Also, each university and college in Canada has information on their websites about financial options and incentives for international students.
To get a student visa, you must prove funds for the stay in Canada. Current required minimum is $10,000 per study year for international students and $4,000 for the first and $3,000 every additional family member. Again, this is just a required minimum!
Your Family Will Accompany you in Canada.
Good news is that your spouse is automatically eligible for an open work permit if you study full-time in Canada. No Labour Market Impact Assessment required! Your kids do not need a study permit. The bad news is that if you apply for a visa at the same time, immigration or visa officer will most probably feel that you want to move to Canada permanently. This could be an issue. To get a student visa it is crucial to prove that you will return to your home country at the end of your study program. So, think about immigration strategy in advance!
Canada has two official languages English and French. At the university level, you would need IELTS average 7 to get admission to a study program. At the college, it starts from IELTS 6 (for diploma) and IELTS 6.5 (for post-graduate programs). You can take an alternative language test. The good thing about Canadian multiculturalism is that nobody cares about your accent! Still, you have to speak and write correctly.
Hint! If you feel that English is your weak side, come to Canada and study at the ESL school like ILAC. If you want to study ESL for less than six months, you just need a visitor visa. And it could be easier to get a visitor visa, upgrade your language ability and then apply for a student visa.
Study as a Way to Immigrate to Canada.
Lastly, all eligible international students are entitled to an Open Post Graduation Work Permit. The length of a work permit depends on the length of your study program. If you gain one year of Canadian work experience, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence.
Hint! Don’t wait until you finish your study program to apply for permanent residence. Many international students have foreign work experience and international degree. Most students to whom I teach International Trade Law have this background. So, go ahead, create your Express Entry Profile under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. You might be eligible to immigrate even before you finish a study program in Canada!
P.S.: Ask your immigration questions, and I will cover immigration topics of interest in my blog in the next posts. How do I know? I immigrated to Canada five years ago, studied in four Canadian educational institutions, three colleges and the University of Toronto, went through licensing exams two times, worked for a Canadian employer, is a Professor at College, and recently established immigration legal service company. I was the international student, foreign worker and permanent resident of Canada. In legal terms, I am licensed by the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council to consult people on immigration issues, give legal advice, and prepare immigration files.