There are literally dozens of ways to immigrate to Canada. Each one has its pros and cons, and you should figure out which one works better for you.
Bringing it into a more realistic perspective, most of us don't have the time (or patience) to study all these processes, requirements, rules, etc. And on top of that, they change all the time! So, to know details of all the options turns out to be almost a full-time job!
Good news is that from all these different immigration channels, the main ones (or should I say most commonly used?) are handled by something called Express Entry.
Express Entry, in a nutshell, is a process where candidates (people that want to immigrate to Canada) will create an online profile, add some information about themselves, like age, profession, education, etc., and the system will calculate a score based on that information. Yup, a score is just a number. Something like "487", for an example. Then, every once in a while , IRCC (Canada's government department responsible for immigration) will invite the top-scorers to become permanent residents. This is a very summarized version of it, of course. But that's pretty much how it works!
Read more about how the points are calculated.
Read more about the invitation rounds.
Ok, but what does all of this has to do with going as a student or worker?
Everything! Here's why.
Well if Canada takes you as a student (under a student visa), it expects you to leave at some point, once your studies are done. Lots of time you can still work a little bit during or after you graduate, but as a general rule, student visa is a temporary one.
So, in a summary, you really can't immigrate to Canada as a student! (Sorry about the title - I know it can be misleading.)
The trick here is that going (temporarily) as a student, might help you get what it takes (points!) to then apply for a Permanent Residence as a skilled worker, through Express Entry or other processes.
Keep reading to understand how.
So, to immigrate to Canada through the Express Entry process (briefly explained above), you need points!
And points are really hard to get. You get some for your age, some for your skills, some for your education, etc. But quite often you might realize that you need more, and there is no way you will do a masters just to earn some extra points.
And that`s where the option of going as a student comes in place.
Turns out that IRCC will give you some extra points for having studied in Canada, or for having worked in Canada.
In the case of Canadian work experience, there is a whole program dedicated to it - the Canadian Experience Class.
So what lots of people do is:
When they realize there is no way they can get more points, they go as student , earn points for the course and (temporary) work in Canada, and then apply for Permanent Residence through Express Entry (or other channels).
That's the yellow path on the image:
Well if you do want to study, then sure, going as a student makes total sense.
But if your goal is to immigrate, I would strongly recommend to try to get all the points you need without going as a student.
The reasons for this are very simple: Money and Risk.
Money, because you will have to find a college that accepts you, pay for the course, pay for your stay, etc. And all of this while not working - most of the time you will only be allowed to work towards the end of the course. And that is IF you find a job, which is not guaranteed.
And Risk, because at the end, you might not even be invited to become a permanent resident.
If you invest all the time and money that you would use for the course, maybe you can squeeze some points still on your home country. And if you get enough to be invited to become a permanent resident, you will have zero risk(!), because when you move to Canada, you will already be a permanent resident. And believe me, that will make your life a lot easier once you are there!
Read more about how to get points without leaving your home country.
It is important to mention that each case is different, and yours might require specific considerations before making a decision. For most scenarios, candidates are able to chose and navigate through a specific process by themselves. But if you feel like you need a hand, it might help to find a certified immigration consultant to help you out.
Express Entry - Process in place to select candidates to become permanent residents based on their skills. Express Entry is used for different immigration programs, including the Federal Skilled Worker Program
IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. It is the Canadian Government department responsible for all matters related to immigration.
CRS Score - Comprehensive Ranking System score. It's the system in place to calculate a score for each Express Entry candidate, based on their information such as age, skills, education, etc.
Permanent Residence Application - The process of submitting all your documents (ECA, IELTS, proof of funds, etc.) and filling up the online forms to apply for permanent residence in Canada. This can only be done after you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA).
ITA - Invitation To Apply - After you submit your Express Entry profile, if you have enough points, IRCC will invite you to apply for permanent residence. This invitation is called ITA.