Student Partnership Program Expands to China : 中加學生合作計劃

The Canadian embassy in Beijing has expanded the Student Partnership Program originally launched in India to China.

The program creates a special processing channel at the Beijing visa office for students destined to member institutions of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, whose membership includes Camosun College, Douglas College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Vancouver Community College.  Students using the program will experience a far shorter wait time than normal applicants, in some cases less than two weeks.

The application form can be viewed here: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/china-chine/assets/pdfs/immigration/beijing/documents/SPP_Application_Kit_2010_07_EN.pdf

This story broke in today’s Ming Pao, both as a front page story, and as a small story with my comments here:

在技術移民難度顯著增加的情況下,加國駐中國大使館新推出的中加學生合作計劃,有望成為中國一般社會人士移民加拿大的新途徑。

移 民律師辛湉王(Steven Meurrens)指出,先到本地學院習得一技之長,又有實習經驗的留學生勢必更受加國移民部歡迎,只要符合規定,無論通過聯邦經驗類(CEC),還是省 提名類別(PNP)移民均更易成功,因為加國非常需要這些能夠通過技術服務社會、能有效融入本地的青壯年,他認為SPP有望成為一個新的移民增長點。

留 學顧問丁方方表示,通過留學移民的途徑日漸熱門,許多私立學校亦以此招攬生源,但實際上這些學校良莠不齊,其課程更可能完全不符合移民政策的要求,因此 SPP計劃中的公立學院是好得多的選擇,它們提供多種多樣的文憑或證書課程,比大學更注重職業性和實際操作,兼有帶薪實習課程(Co-op),有利於就 業。她認為,這對於有意移民的普通人,SPP計劃可能是個比技術移民或投資移民更可行的選擇。

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Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Rules

The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (“PGWPP“) allows students who have graduated from most Canadian public post-secondary institutions to stay and work in Canada upon graduation.  As someone who remembers the frustration of international students who had to leave Canada upon graduating even though they would have jumped at the opportunity to stay, work, and pay taxes in Canada, it is certainly a welcome program.

The PGWPP permits are open work permits. There is no requirement for a job offer prior to applying.  There is no restriction on the type of work that can be performed.

If an international student in Canada completes a post-secondary program of study that is two or more years, the student can apply for a three-year work permit. If the program of study is between eight months and two years, then the student will be eligible for a work permit lasting for a period equal to the duration of the student’s  studies.

The application for the PGWPP must be submitted within 90 days of formal written notification that you have met the requirements for graduation.

Combining Programs

One question that frequently arises is what would happen if a student obtains a second one-year diploma after having already completed a one-year diploma prior to that?  Would the student be eligible for a one year PGWPP or a two-year?

Pursuant to a recent Citizenship and Immigration Canada operational bulletin, it appears that the length of the two one-year degrees may be combined to obtain a three-year work permit.  The bulletin uses the example of a student who obtains a one-year diploma program in Canada, and then completes a one-year MBA.  Prior to this operational bulletin, many assume that the student would only have been eligible for a one-year work permit.  The recent bulletin, however, clarifies that a three-year work permit would be issued.

Implication of Doing a Victory Lap

A second clarification in the operational bulletin is that a student in the last session of a program of study needs to only take two additional classes in order to be eligible for the program.

For those that are doing what is known as a “victory lap”, or who have to take one or two courses to get their degree, this is also a welcome change.


Post-Graduate Work Permits in British Columbia

Lately, I have received numerous enquiries regarding which private post-secondary institutions are eligible to have their students receive Post-Graduate Work Permits (“PGWP“) in British Columbia.  Coincidentally, on June 5, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“), issued Operational Bulletin 262 (“OB 262“), which addresses the issue.

First, it is important to note the distinction between students enrolled in a degree program at a private post-secondary institution, and students enrolled in a diploma or certificate program.  All students in Canadian private institutions which are authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees are eligible to participate in the general PGWP.

As well, there is a Pilot Project in British Columbia which provides that diploma and certificate students at certain British Columbia private post-secondary institutions are eligible to receive Post-Graduate Work Permits.  The Pilot Project expires on January 31, 2013, and international students accepted into programs of study at participating institutions after August 31, 2012 are not eligible to participate in the pilot.

Students who have completed a program of study that is at least eight months or more and received a diploma or certificate in a career training program from the following institutions are eligible to apply under the Pilot Project:

  • Sprott-Shaw Degree College
  • Arbutus College of Communication Arts;
  • Business and Technology
  • Ashton College
  • Canadian Tourism College
  • Centre for Arts and Technology
  • Eton College
  • Greystone College
  • John Casablancas Institute of Applied Arts
  • MTI Community College
  • Omni College
  • Pacific Audio Visual Institute
  • Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute
  • Sprott-Shaw Community College
  • Stenberg College
  • Universal Learning Institute
  • Vancouver Central College
  • Vancouver Film School
  • Vancouver Institute of Media Arts

Additional requirements, and discussions of specific scenarios (such as transfer students), can be found here.


Who Needs a Medical Exam to Study in Canada?

A couple days ago I received a question regarding whether someone who is a Hong Kong national needs a medical exam to study in Canada.

Foreign students have the same medical requirements as those that apply to work or simply visit Canada.

Generally, no medical examination is required for people who intend to visit Canada for six months or less unless they intend to work in certain designated occupations.

If the duration of the student’s visit is more then six months, then a medical examination will be required if they will also work in one of the above designated occupations, or, if they have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the one year immediately preceding the date that they seek entry to Canada.

In other words, it is not a country of nationality or citizenship.  It is a question of where you have been.  An American who spent six months volunteering in a designated country will need a medical examination.

The designated country list can be found here.

As for the Hong Kong national, assuming that he spent six months or more in Hong Kong prior to seeking entry to Canada, then the answer would be “yes, he needs a medical if his intended period of studies is six months or more.”