Studying in Canada – A Survival Guide

Essential Tools to Succeed in your Journey

Studying in Canada can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it’s critical you be aware of potential scams and to prepare for the challenges of living in a new country. Here’s a survival guide for Canadian international students to help you avoid scams and navigate your academic journey successfully.

Choose a Consultant Wisely

Who can represent you? What information can you trust? Remember – It’s essential to exercise caution when selecting an authorized representative for your study permit application in Canada. Choosing someone with the appropriate credentials and a good reputation can help ensure a smoother and more reliable application process.

Bruce Ferreira-Wells and David LeBlanc are both Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC – CICC), and members of the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants. The College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (“the College”) licenses and regulates Canadian immigration and citizenship consultants in the public interest.

Avoid Scams – How to Spot Fraud:

  1. Beware of Fake Calls and Emails: Be cautious of unsolicited calls or emails claiming to be from immigration authorities, banks, or other official entities. Do not share personal or financial information over the phone or email.
  2. Keep your Money Safe: Do not make online payments or wire transfers to unknown individuals or websites. Use secure payment methods for transactions.
  3. Know a Scam when you See One: Detecting fraud is not always easy. A few things to be mindful of include: someone asking you for money in order to access or complete an application process; someone asking you to send documents, personal information or payments through social media platforms; someone guaranteeing you entry into Canada, a significant amount of money, a high-paying job, or a faster processing of an application; and someone adding pressure and a sense of urgency to act immediately without you being given much information. Read our tips on avoiding fraud.

Research Your Education Agent

Some international students and their parents may choose to hire an education agent to help prepare for studying in Canada. The Government of Canada does not qualify, accredit, guarantee, or endorse any particular agent. We recommend that you research the background, experience, and expertise of the agent. Although not all education agents have bad intentions, you must be aware that education agents cannot provide advice on Canada’s immigration processes.

Most important – you must consider whether your proposed program enables you to get a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) once you’re finished.

It’s a fact that many students who choose Canada as a place to pursue post-secondary education programs do so because they plan to stay in Canada to live and work after graduating. Your options become extremely limited if it turns out that your program is not eligible for a PGWP.

When Planning for your Education Journey in Canada

When you are ready for your education journey in Canada, follow these five steps:

1. Choose the Right School

Choose a Designated Learning Institution which offers “Post-Graduate Work Permit – Eligible” programs.

To ensure you are making the right choice at the onset of your academic and professional journey in Canada, you must confirm that your school of interest is a “Designated Learning Institution (DLI)”. In addition to ensuring the program aligns with your academic and career goals, your DLI must offer programs which permit you to apply for a post-graduate work permit (PGWP) when you’re finished your studies. Not all designated learning institutions and not all programs of study make you eligible for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program!

We will discuss your eligibility first based on your recent education history as a prerequisite to apply.

2. Verify Your Acceptance

Confirm your acceptance through official channels like the school’s official website, email, or physical mail. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true – if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Apply for a Study Permit

Let us help you navigate this rather technical application, making sure you’ve made the right enrolment choice and allowing us to represent you. There are subtle but critical differences concerning where you need to be residing when applying, being sure you have ample and correct documentation to support your application and have the proper amount of support. Never utilize unauthorized agents or websites for this purpose.

4. Create a Budget

What is your financial plan? Be clear about tuition fees, living expenses, and scholarships. Create a budget and explore options for part-time work on or off-campus to support yourself financially.

5. Secure your Accommodation

Secure accommodation through reputable sources like your college or university’s housing office or popular local rental websites. Avoid sending money in advance without proper consultation and documentation. You can also reach out the institution directly and gather as much information as possible about support for students (housing, mental health support, etc), the average number of yearly admissions and the expected cost of living in the city (both on-and-off campus). If possible, try to contact an alumni association and speak with a former student about their experiences.

During Your Studies

During your studies, always maintain legal temporary status: You must respect the conditions of your study permit, including being actively engaged in full-time studies. If your study permit is due to expire before your completion date, we can help you extend it.

When Graduating

Graduation on the horizon? Time to prepare for a Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP)

You’ve applied yourself, you studied hard, and you’ve succeeded in your education goals – congratulations! Now that you have completed your post-secondary program in Canada as an international student, you may be eligible to pursue Canada’s Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program. This program offers you the chance to gain valuable work experience in Canada for a designated period after completing your studies, enhancing your skills, and potentially lead to a pathway to permanent residency. Canada is not just a place to study – it’s a place to succeed.

Most important: this is your one chance to get it right! Sadly, even a tiny oversight or error can deny you this work permit, and you’ll often find out after it is too late. To be eligible for a PGWP, you must graduate from a program at a DLI that was at least eight months in duration, you must have been a full-time student through the academic year for each year of your program and obtain a final transcript and an official letter from your school saying you have met all the requirement to complete your program of study.

A PGWP can be valid for up to three years, depending on the length of the program you completed. It allows you to gain work experience in Canada which can open pathways to Canadian permanent residency if you wish to stay in the country permanently.

Remember that being cautious and well-informed is your best defense against scams. Always rely on official channels and the professional guidance which we can offer you. Studying in Canada can be a wonderful experience, and with the right preparation, you can enjoy a successful academic journey and a promising pathway to permanent residency.


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