Along with being a multicultural country, Canada is home to many world-class educational institutions. If you intend to study and settle in Canada, applying for a student permit is not your only option; there are other ways to live, work and study in Canada.
There are many advantages to enrolling in a program or course as a Permanent Resident (PR) rather than an international student. Applying through the Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) for permanent residency is a popular route.
Pursuing post-secondary education in Canada as a PR can greatly benefit you. It can help you advance your career, equip you to find work in your desired field (especially if you’re struggling), and gain the much-coveted Canadian experience. In this article, we will explore the benefits of pursuing education as a PR, discuss how continuing education can help advance your career, and highlight key places that you can consider to build your skills and further your education.
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Benefits of studying in Canada as a permanent resident (PR)
Moving to a new country and starting your career all over again is not easy; it takes determination, willingness to adapt, industry and market intelligence, and patience (along with the right connections!) to get the job you want. Here are six reasons why continuing education in Canada is a great decision!
1. Stand out in the job market
The job market in Canada is competitive. Learning an in-demand skill, taking up a course, co-op programs, internships, work experience, and strengthening your domain knowledge with a thorough understanding of local best practices and local culture will help add value to your resume and give you an edge over other internationally trained and educated candidates.
Getting certified locally, joining an industry association as a member, enrolling in a bootcamp or bridging program, or pursuing a course at a university are all ways to improve your marketability as a prospective candidate and get the job (and pay) you want.
“Canada as a country is very risk-averse, and that reflects in the recruitment practices as well. Moving to Canada as a PR and completing my studies at a school like Schulich definitely made life easier. I noticed it opened many doors and people were more receptive to connecting with me.”
2. Work and practice locally in a regulated occupation
In Canada, all occupations are classified as regulated or non-regulated. Regulated professions (such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, lawyers, project managers, etc.) require certification and/or a license to work and practice in that field. Therefore, for many, getting certified in Canada is not optional but a mandatory requirement. Various industry associations and governing bodies offer certification courses that you can enroll in.
To find out if your profession is regulated, you can either –
- Head over to the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) website and enter your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code and province/territory; or
- Check the Canadian Job Bank website. Once you enter your NOC code and the province/territory, the Occupation Trends page will provide a list of skills and requirements (such as licenses and certifications) to work in the field.
3. Transition to a new career or role
After moving to Canada as a PR, pursuing education can be a stepping stone to making a career switch or transitioning to a different role in your own field. Depending on the industry that you wish to enter, you can analyze the local job market to find the scope for specific professions and thus make informed decisions. You can look at full-fledged courses offered by traditional universities and colleges or even consider specialized bootcamps to train yourself for a new role.
4. Opportunity to build your local network
Networking is a way of life in Canada and is crucial to finding a role in your field of work. Canada has a hidden job market. This hidden job market refers to positions that are filled without the employer advertising them publicly. It is said that as much as 65-85 per cent of the jobs are not posted online. This is why building your network is crucial. Continuing education in Canada can provide many opportunities to build your network locally, within your industry and field, and adapt faster.
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5. Low tuition – you pay the same costs as Canadian citizens
One of the major benefits of pursuing education in Canada as a PR is low tuition. Course fees are greatly subsidized for permanent residents when compared to international student rates. For example, at the University of Toronto (U of T), a full-time MBA program for the class of 2022 costs $92,540 CAD if you are a PR. The same course is $127,930 CAD for international students. If you consider the University of British Columbia (UBC), the tuition for a full-time MBA program is $49,418 CAD for PRs and $83,262 CAD for international students. The difference is huge!
6. Leverage student aid provided by the government
Although the tuition for PRs is less than the amount that international students are expected to pay, it is still a substantial cost. The Government of Canada offers student grants and loans to full-time and part-time students. Typically, grants do not have to be repaid, whereas loans need to be paid back. The amount you are eligible to receive depends on several factors, including the province or territory you reside in, your family income, number of dependents, your tuition fees and living expenses, and whether you have a disability. For instance, students in the province of Ontario can apply for the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) , while those in British Columbia can apply for StudentAidBC.
Tip: To find out if you can receive Canada student grants or loans, use the federal student aid estimator.
There are lifetime limits on the number of weeks you can receive student aid. This includes interest-free periods while you are in school. Once a lifetime limit has been reached, interest starts to accumulate. You will also have to start paying back the loan six months after graduating or finishing your studies. Full-time students can receive student aid for no more than 340 weeks (approximately six and a half years), except:
- Students enrolled in doctoral studies can receive student aid for up to 400 weeks (approximately seven and a half years); and
- Students with a permanent disability can receive student aid for up to 520 weeks (approximately 10 years).
Open an RBC newcomer savings account while in quarantine or even before you arrive in Canada
Banking in Canada may be different from what you’re used to. RBC can help you understand how it works here so that you’re prepared when you arrive. Get one step closer to accomplishing your career goals – start by saving for your education. Book a phone appointment now to speak to an RBC Advisor and learn more about how to open a savings account.
Where can you pursue further education in Canada
There are many avenues to continue your studies in Canada and develop yourself professionally. Some of them are:
Traditional universities and colleges
For many immigrants in Canada, traditional universities and colleges are the go-to places to pursue further education. One of the key reasons to opt for these institutions is that universities tend to offer a much wider breadth and depth of subjects to choose from. Additionally, many courses are taught by top-notch faculty and depending on the program. Students have the option to choose between part-time, full-time, remote learning, or in-person options, making them very versatile and enabling students to find a schedule that works for them.
Bridging programs cater to internationally-trained professionals and tradespeople who want to work in their field in Canada. Some of the bridging programs’ services include courses, education and skills assessment, practical or workplace experience, exam preparation for licenses or certificates, language training, and action and learning plans to help you identify the training you may need. There are many advantages to pursuing a bridging program. It can help you –
- Gain Canadian experience, which can, in turn, make your profile more appealing to recruiters;
- Build your network in a specific industry;
- Earn certification or license that’s required to work in your field;
- Find a mentor who can provide advice and guide you with your career decisions; and
- Get access to a variety of job search support like resume preparation and mock interviews.
These programs may be virtual, or in-person or a combination of both. Usually, classroom training or work experience is part of the program. Depending on the bridging program you choose, there may be a fee associated with it. Contact a newcomer settlement agency near you or check local university or college websites to learn more about enrolment processes and eligibility criteria for specific bridging programs.
“I was enrolled in a sales and marketing bridging program at ACCES Employment. It was a six-week program offered by them in conjunction with Humber College. This program gave me an introduction to the marketing industry in Canada and helped me craft a Canadian-style resume. The program was great in just preparing me for the Canadian job market. One of the best parts was that it helped me connect with a number of employers such as McKinsey, Tangerine, RBC, Softchoice, and many others in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Another great thing was that this program helped me find a mentor, which eventually led to finding a job opportunity.”
Bootcamps are intensive training sessions over a short period of time for learning a specific skill. To keep up with the growing demand for IT professionals in Canada, coding and programming bootcamps are now immensely popular. Getting into a good boot camp can be highly competitive. Some people try three or four times before they are accepted. Many bootcamps also provide job search assistance to ensure their students find employment upon graduation.
“After moving to Canada as a PR, I briefly considered going back to college, but I didn’t want to study for four or five years before starting to work in this field. One weekend I did a deep dive researching salaries, what the life of a front end developer is like, and what courses were available. Then I found out about boot camps! To me, it just seemed better than college: you study eight hours a day for nine or twelve weeks, depending on the program.”
Industry associations and governing bodies are excellent places to deep-dive into your specific industry, learn local best practices and upcoming trends, network with industry professionals, and even find a mentor! You can find a comprehensive list of business and industry associations on the government of Canada website.
Canada offers many opportunities for personal and professional success for newcomers. Pursuing education after your move can help you achieve your career goals and be instrumental in helping you adapt to Canadian life and the local job market.
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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.