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Permanent Residency without a Job Offer: Options for International Students

Updated: Feb 25

There are many immigration programs for permanent residency that require a job offer. For instance, many streams of the provincial nominee programs as well as the Federal Skilled Trades Class on Express Entry require a job offer. After all, you must show a degree of establishment into Canadian society in order to be successful at permanent settlement in the economic class and/or business class.


In this post, we would like to address some options which do not require a job offer and the essential elements that you must know in order to be successful on a permanent resident application. If you are interested in the federal programs administered through the Express Entry platform such as the Canadian Experience Class and the Federal Skilled Worker Class, which also do not require a job offer as long as you have a strong CRS rank within the Express Entry pool, please refer to our previous blog post of October 21, 2019 for details.


To follow, we will discuss a few options that are best suitable for graduates of Canadian learning institutions who do not need to have a job offer to qualify for permanent residency:


1. The International Post-Graduate Category in BC: this provincial nominee stream is for graduates with Masters or Doctoral degrees from an eligible education institution in British Columbia in the natural, applied, or health sciences programs of study. No job offer is necessary to apply under this sub-category. The graduate degree (masters or PhD) must be in one of the following programs of study:

+ the natural, applied or health sciences

+ agriculture, agriculture operations and related sciences

+ biological and biomedical sciences

+ computer and information sciences and support services

+ engineering

+ engineering technology and engineering-related fields

+ health professions and related programs

+ mathematics and statistics

+ natural resources conservation

+ physical sciences


2. The PhD Graduate Stream in ON: this provincial nominee stream is for graduates who completed a PhD degree at an eligible publicly funded university in Ontario with at least 2 years of study. They must apply soon after the completion of their studies, even outside of Canada. There is no need for a job offer in order to apply for permanent residence.


3. The Masters Graduate Stream in ON: this provincial nominee stream also does not require a job offer in order to qualify for permanent residence. The candidate must complete a masters degree at a publicly funded (not private) university in Ontario with at least 1 year of study within the last 2 years. They must live in Canada for at least 1 year while they study.


4. The International Student Entrepreneur in MB: a provincial nominee stream for those who prefer to work in their own business rather than to seek a job offer, the province of Manitoba may be for you! This pilot program has a cap of 20 students per year. Those who have graduated in MB could gain the opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship or to become a business owner as oppose to an employee. Once the applicant meets the conditions of their Business Performance Agreement, they are nominated for permanent residence.


5. The Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream in NB: a provincial nominee stream for recent graduates from a recognized university in New Brunswick or the NB Community College, who have studied for at least 2 years full time. Upon graduating, the candidate starts or buys a business in NB and operates it for at least 1 year on a post-graduate work permit. If they are successful in operating their business for 1 year, they will become eligible for provincial nomination. Please note that this program is unique as many other provinces have a precondition that a post-graduate work permit holder cannot have an ownership steak in the company by which they are employed.


6. The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream in NS: this provincial nominee stream is ideal for those who graduate from a university in Nova Scotia or the Nova Scotia Community College and have a valid post-graduate work permit. They own a business and actively run it for 1 year. After the probationary period is completed, they apply for permanent residence through the Nova Scotia provincial nominee program.


International students in Canada are usually aware of the qualifications for a post-graduate open work permit upon graduation which will be issued for up to 3 years in length. What it means is that, the employer, occupation and location of the job is not restricted. However, recent graduates sometimes run into the problem that they are required to have skilled work experience as on Express Entry and most provincial nominee programs. Skilled work experience is essentially work that requires a college or university degree or diploma in order to be qualified for the job. If the recent graduate had no previous work experience due to their age or economic conditions, it would be very difficult to secure a skilled and eligible job offer on a permanent basis. Having no Canadian work experience also poses problems. The above mentioned programs as well as Express Entry illustrate a few options around the job offer dilemma faced by many international students studying in Canada. However, one must expect to have to show settlement funds consistent with their family size when migrating under any program without arranged employment. The amount of those funds will vary from program to program.


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