International graduates who studied remotely can now immigrate to B.C.

Only 50 per cent of studies are now required to be from within Canada for the B.C. PNP international student categories.

International graduates from B.C. now only need to have completed at least 50 per cent of their studies from within Canada to be eligible for the international student immigration categories, the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP) announced on February 2.

This means that graduates can complete up to half of their studies from their home country. Those who completed most of their studies in Canada and who stayed in their home country during the COVID-19 pandemic may still be eligible to immigrate to the province.

Students who graduated before March 1, 2020 must have completed 50 per cent or more of their studies on-campus. However, those who graduated on or after March 1, 2020 must have completed 50 per cent or more of their studies while residing in Canada, however the studies do not need to be completed on-campus.

To demonstrate that studies were completed within Canada, candidates can use documents such as tenancy agreements, bank statements or utility bills.

This amendment to the online learning requirement comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel restrictions have been put in place in Canada and abroad to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Students who attended distance education programs remain ineligible for nomination. These programs are completed almost exclusively online.

International students exempt from travel restrictions

International students are among those who are exempt from Canadian travel restrictions, provided their designated learning institution has obtained approval of its COVID-19 response plan from the government.

However, it is still difficult for many international students to travel for various reasons, such as airport closures.

Many learning institutions across Canada have chosen to hold their lectures online. For that reason, many students are choosing to attend their classes while staying in their home countries.

Students may be further discouraged from making the trip to Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced stricter travel measures to control COVID-19. Travellers will be required to take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test upon arrival and will need to stay at a government-approved hotel for at least three days while waiting for the results. This may cost travellers an estimated $2,000.

Requirements for international graduates

British Columbia remains committed to immigration. The province continues to regularly hold BC PNP draws, having recently invited 216 immigration candidates to apply for a provincial nomination.There are four ways candidates can become eligible to immigrate to B.C. as international graduates:

  • Express Entry B.C. Stream – International Graduate Category;
  • Express Entry B.C. Stream – International Post-Graduate Category;
  • Skills Immigration Stream – International Graduate Category;
  • Skills Immigration Stream – International Post-Graduate Category.

The Express Entry B.C. Stream is aligned with the federal Express Entry system. This means that you must have a valid Express Entry profile to be eligible through this stream, and must be eligible for one of Canada’s main economic class immigration programs: the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), and the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

If you are an international graduate and wish to immigrate to B.C. through the Express Entry B.C. Stream, you must have graduated from an eligible post-secondary institution in Canada and you must have a job offer from an eligible employer. In addition, you must meet the minimum income requirements for the job offer.

For the Skills Immigration stream, international graduates will also need to meet the same above requirements. In addition, they must have graduated in the last three years, and they must meet the language requirement for that occupation. They also must show that they can support themselves and their family.

If you are an international post-graduate and wish to immigrate to B.C. through the Skills Immigration stream or the Express Entry B.C. stream, you must have received a Master’s degree or a PhD degree in an eligible field, such as engineering, health professions, physical sciences, among others. You also need to provide evidence that you wish to live in B.C. permanently. A job offer is not required for international post-graduates.

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