Immigration to Ontario, Canada, as an international student

immigration for international students in Ontario

Siti is an Indonesian citizen. She is finishing her Tourism and Hospitality Management diploma at George Brown College. Siti is worried about her future in Canada. Will she be able to become a permanent resident? Consequently, she is exploring his immigration options to Ontario, Canada, as an international student.

What are my options to immigrate to Ontario as an international student?

This article only covers students who graduate from community colleges or government-funded universities in Ontario. If you are studying elsewhere, this article may not be for you. However, you may consider booking a consultation session with me to explore your options. Please note that successful immigration to Ontario means you become a permanent resident of Canada.

I prefer to divide the potential options into two major groups:

  • Economic options – This group of options focuses on the ability of a person to establish themselves in Canada economically.
  • Non-economic options – This group focuses primarily on family reunification or humanitarian reasons.
Consultation for international students

Economic immigration options to Ontario

As an international student, you may have one of the following options to immigrate to Ontario under economic options:

  • OINP options
    • Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream: This stream is designed for international students with a job offer in Ontario. It allows them to apply for permanent residence if they meet specific criteria.
    • Masters Graduate Stream: This option is for individuals who have obtained a Master’s degree from an eligible Ontario institution. No job offer is required to apply under this stream. However, OINP expects a minimum CLB 7 or NCLC 7 language competency for this group.
    • PhD Graduate Stream: Tailored for individuals who have completed a Ph.D. from an Ontario institution. Similar to the Master’s Graduate Stream, no job offer is needed.
  • Express Entry options
    • Canadian Experience Class: Aimed at individuals with skilled work experience in Canada. It’s a pathway to achieve permanent residence based on Canadian work experience.
    • Human Capital Priorities Stream: Part of the Express Entry system, this stream targets skilled workers who want to live and work in Ontario and have the qualifications to integrate into the province’s labour market quickly.

Other options, such as OINP-ES (Entrepreneur Stream), Foreign Worker Stream, or Agri-Food Pilot, could be available. However, I narrowed down the list to the most common options.

A quick comparison of economic options

If you are exploring these options, you must visit the relevant pages on or to learn more about them. However, the following table is helpful for a quick, unofficial comparison of these options.

Immigration OptionIs a Job Offer Required?LMIA Required for Job Offer?Minimum Language Requirements (CLB Level)Minimum Work Experience Requirements
Employer Job Offer: International Student StreamYesTypically noCLB 7None
Masters Graduate StreamNoN/ACLB 7None
Ph.D. Graduate StreamNoN/AN/A (but knowing official languages generate points)None
Canadian Experience ClassNo (but a valid job offer can increase CRS score)Typically, yesCLB 7 for NOC 0 or 1 jobs; CLB 5 for NOC 2 or 3 jobsAt least one year of skilled work (NOC 0,1, 2, or 3) in Canada
Human Capital Priorities StreamNo (but a valid job offer can increase CRS score)Typically, yesCLB 7At least one year of skilled work in Canada or outside Canada

Please note that the purpose of this table is to offer you a quick comparison of these options. I couldn’t explain all the requirements in those small table cells. However, the links lead you to more accurate information.

Non-economic immigration options to Ontario for international students

Here is a quick list of common non-economic immigration options for international students in Ontario. These options are also available to students in other provinces.

  • Sponsorship by a spouse or common-law partner: This option allows international students to apply for permanent residency if they are married to or in a common-law relationship with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident who can sponsor them.
  • Refugee claims: International students who fear persecution, cruelty, torture, or risk to their lives if they return to their home country can make a claim in Canada for refugee protection.
  • Immigration on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds: This is for individuals who wouldn’t usually qualify as immigrants but can apply to stay in Canada due to exceptional circumstances, such as significant establishment in Canada or facing excessive hardship if they return to their home country.

Again, this is a simplified list. You must consult a professional to see if any of these options are available.

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.