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International Students in Canada

3 Options for International Students in Canada to Extend Their Stay

Canada offers transparent Permanent Residency (PR) pathways and immigrant-friendly policies. More specifically the country is renowned for its merit-based Express Entry PR pathway and the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program that allows international students in Canada to acquire work experience.  When these opportunities are combined with the better standards of living and education prospects in Canada it becomes a favorite destination for international students.

As per 2022 data provided by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the figure of international students in Canada stands at 622,000. This number witnesses a significant rise each year. With this increasing composition and rising demand for Permanent Residency Canada Study Visa holders find it challenging to extend their stay in Canada. However, it is indeed an easy task with the right information. The following three options will help you in this direction.

1. Extend Student Status

In case a student is about to expire their student visa, extending the student status by enrolling in another program could help to extend their stay in Canada. This will help them to gain more points to be eligible for the PR pathways.

To be specific, students who are about to complete a one-year program can avoid the PGWP pathway and apply for the next program. Here there are two benefits. The obvious one is an extension of stay. The other benefit is the extension of PGWP duration. PGWP offers a one-year duration for the 1-year program and a 3-year duration for the 2-year program. The catch is that a student is eligible for PGWP only once. So it is better to extend its duration through this approach. This method is known as Program stacking.

It is worth mentioning that there are some updates in the PGWP program eligibility as of May 15, 2024. Please refer to it before proceeding with any program.

2. For International Students already in an expiring PGWP

Since PGWP is a one-time privilege the stacking method won’t work here. However such candidates can reverse their PGWP back to student status. But this time while selecting a course make sure that it aligns with the occupation that you intend to land.

Another pathway in this scenario is to pursue a closed work permit. To get this, international students in Canada require a valid job offer and a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) conducted by the employer. But this path can be challenging. More often than not students will not find a job that aligns with their skill sets or the employer may not be willing to conduct the required procedures to grant a work permit. In some cases, employers may illegally charge for the LMIA a hefty sum of money which can be more than the costs incurred in extending student status.

3. Extend the Stay as a Visitor

A visitor visa enables students to stay in Canada for 10 years with a 6-month permit at a time. As the 6 months elapse the candidate can apply for a renewal through the visitor record. The downside of this procedure is that it doesn’t give permits to work in Canada. If a candidate works for cash with this visa scheme such experience will not be considered for PR applications.


Here are the three most practical and legal strategies for international students in Canada to extend their stay. Always remember that it is essential to apply for student permit renewals at least 30 days before its expiry. Since you will have to renew your health insurance and social insurance number along with it, it is better to start the process early.

You may be perplexed by the complex and volatile norms in permit regulations in Canada. In that case, you need the assistance of an experienced immigration consultant. This is exactly why Trenity Consultants is here to save your day.


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