International Students in Canada

Top 3 Ways International Students Can Extend Their Stay in Canada

Canada is a developed country that has witnessed a huge influx of immigrant populations. As is obvious, the high standards of living and better employment opportunities are the leading factors that cause this move. A major share of these immigrants is composed of students. As per IRCC data, there were about 352,000 international students in Canada. This figure has almost doubled by the year 2022.

Even though IRCC has decided to put a cap on student migration, the number of international students in the country is still in a higher range.  As of recently, there is an increasing competition for Permanent Residency (PR) and stay back in Canada. This has put Canada Study Visa holders and other PGWP candidates in a tight position. They find it challenging to extend their stay in the country. Fortunately, there are solutions to this conundrum. Here are three strategies that will help here.

1.Program Stacking Approach

The first thing to be noted is that the PGWP (Post Graduate Work Permit) Program is accessible only once. Secondly, its duration can be extended with increased course duration. For a 1-year course, PGWP is for 1 year and a 2 year course can make it 3 years.  Here is the opportunity to access the maximum period of stay in Canada.

International students in Canada pursuing a 1-year program that is about to expire need not opt for the PGWP. Instead, they can apply for a subsequent program that stacks up the duration of their course. This helps them to tap into a larger PGWP duration as they complete the second program.

This strategic approach will give enough time for students to stay back in Canada until they gain sufficient points to qualify for the Permanent Residency Pathways.

Pursuing a Master’s degree is also a recommended choice while program stacking. This will help you get more points for PR through dedicated PNPs such as Ontario’s Master’s Graduate Stream.

2. PGWP is expiring. What to do?

Here there are two options. One is to reverse the PGWP to student status. The other one is to get a closed work permit.

The first one requires you to select another student program. Since PGWP is a one-time you will not receive further opportunities to pursue it. So at this juncture, it is essential to choose the right program that aligns with your occupational goals.

The second one could be more challenging and expensive than the first option. Most of the time international students in Canada face difficulty in finding a job that aligns with their skills. Even if they find one potential employer they may not show willingness to go through the burden of permit procedures. Moreover, this option requires one to meet conditions other than a valid job offer. It is the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) conducted by potential employers. As most employers illegally charge a considerable sum for the LMIA this could turn out to be an expensive option compared to going back to the student status.

3. Visitor Visa Pathway

A visitor visa is another pathway for students to extend their stay in Canada. This facilitates a 10-year visa with a permit to stay in Canada for 6 months at a time. This 6-month visa could be extended by applying for an extension via the visitor record.

Sometimes international students in Canada may even consider getting a U.S B1/B2 visa to exit Canada for 24 hours and come back for the next set of 6 months in Canada.

These are all legally viable pathways to extend your time of stay in Canada. However, a visitor visa does not allow you to work legally in Canada.


This is only a bird’s eye view of three practical strategies for students to extend their stay in Canada. Your Canada study visa or PGWP permits have nuances and modifications from time to time. As of recently on May 15 there was an update to the PGWP eligibility. 

Most of the time such nuances are missed resulting in failed immigration formalities. With the assistance of an immigration consultant who keeps a watch on these changing norms such mistakes could be avoided. This is where the leading immigration consultants like Navigate Migrate have relevance.


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