Immigration policies differ depending on the country. Some involve complicated processes and restrictions. You may have to leave as soon as you complete your studies. Others, while more flexible, may not have the study and work opportunities you’re looking for. That’s why we’re bringing you our roundup of options to study abroad in an immigration-friendly country!
These countries share:
- flexible visa processes
- excellent universities and job opportunities
- a high standard of living
What You Need to Know About Studying Abroad in an Immigration-Friendly Country
Canada ranks as one of the best countries to study and settle in. It crops up frequently in immigration countries lists for international students. And for good reason! Canada has very accessible study, work, and immigration opportunities for international students. As of May 2021, the Canadian government rolled out a plan to welcome 90,000 new permanent residents.
Some of the best universities in the world call Canada their home. The country also offers affordable tuition, compared to other English-speaking countries! The OECD consistently ranks Canada as one of the best places to live in the world. With its friendly people, high standards of living, and low crime and unemployment rates, it’s a dream destination for many.
Canada is also one of the most immigration-friendly countries in 2023! The initial visa application process may seem a bit long. But it’s really not that complicated when you know what to do.
And when you complete your studies, you can apply to stay and work in Canada, too!
Post-Graduation Work Permit
You’re eligible for a PGWP if you are a full-time student for a program longer than 8 months. If your program is between 8 months and two years long, your PGWP is valid for a duration matching your program length. A program longer than 2 years qualifies you for a PGWP valid for up to 3 years!
You can apply for the PGWP within 180 days of completing your study program. Make sure your study permit doesn’t expire over this time! However, if it does, you may apply for a temporary visitor’s visa, or return home and apply for the PGWP.
Canada gives you lots of wiggle room to extend your stay in the country after your studies. With the goal of retaining talented individuals in its workforce, it’s also an "easy PR country"!
One of the conditions to qualify for permanent residency is work experience in Canada under specific categories. So, work experience while on your PGWP gives you a running start to settle down here!
2. New Zealand
Perhaps you’re already familiar with the scenic, beautiful landscapes of New Zealand through the iconic The Lord of the Rings films. It’s a gorgeous country with friendly people, pleasant climates, and great quality of life. And when it comes to studying abroad in an immigration-friendly country, it’s a top choice!
All 8 of New Zealand’s universities feature in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings 2023. The excellent education system and post-study work visa opportunities make it one of the best immigration-friendly countries of 2022.
New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF)
To understand whether you qualify for post-study work visas, you need to understand the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). This comprehensive framework breaks the complexity of your knowledge and skills down into 10 levels. Levels 1 to 3 outline secondary school education. Levels 4 and above cover post-secondary learning, including diplomas, and undergraduate and graduate qualifications.
Post-Study Work Visas in New Zealand
To qualify for a post-study work visa, you need to complete your studies in New Zealand. If you complete a Level 7 bachelor’s degree in Auckland, you can apply for a work visa of 3 years. By completing a Level 7 graduate diploma instead, you’re eligible for a 1-year post-study visa. Completing studies at Levels 4-5 also makes you eligible for a 1-year visa.
These criteria vary if you study in New Zealand, but not in Auckland. Completing a Level 7 bachelor’s degree, or one or more Level 4-6 qualifications, makes you eligible for a work visa of 3 years. On the other hand, if you complete a Level 7 Graduate Diploma after 31 December 2021, you're eligible for a 1-year work visa. Similarly, if you complete an acceptable program at Levels 4-6 after 31 December 2021, you are eligible for 1-year post-study work.
You also have options to get more than one post-study work visa. To qualify, your program must be at Level 7 bachelor’s degree or higher, and as long as 30 weeks or more. It must also be a higher qualification level than the one you got before.
Permanent Residency in New Zealand
New Zealand is keen to retain skilled individuals with qualifications under the NZQF. As a result, New Zealand is one of the best countries to study and settle in! Once you get a post-study work visa, you can get the experience you need to qualify for a Talent (Accredited Employer) Visa. With the right skills and experience, you can look for full-time work offers from accredited employers.
The Talent (Accredited Employer) Visa can then open doors for you to get the Talent (Accredited Employer) Resident Visa. Once you’ve worked for an accredited employer in New Zealand for 2 years, you’re eligible to apply for residency!
Australia is another country you can get permanent residency in after your studies. The country lands 26 universities in the top 500 of the QS World University Rankings 2023. With low unemployment rates and high quality of living, it’s an excellent option for study abroad in an immigration-friendly country.
To apply for permanent residency with a Skilled Regional visa, you need to, among other conditions:
- Already hold an existing visa
- Stay in a designated regional area for a minimum of 3 years
- Work in Australia and earn a taxable income at or above a specific threshold
Getting a post-study work visa is a great opportunity to open a pathway toward permanent residency. Although you can apply for permanent residency on your student visa after graduating, you might not meet all the requirements. This is likely the case because you probably won’t meet the work experience and income level requirements right after graduating.
Temporary Graduate Visa
To start working towards permanent residency, you can apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa. These visa options share a couple of eligibility criteria. You must:
- Complete a CRICOS-registered course
- Be holding a student visa within the last 6 months
- Be under the age of 50
You can also only choose one of the following visa streams available:
Graduate Work Stream Visa
You can apply for this visa if you graduate from an Australian university with the skills and expertise Australia is looking for in specific occupational categories! To be eligible, you need to graduate with a bachelor’s degree (or higher qualification), diploma, advanced diploma, or trade qualification.
Your visa permit allows you to work, study, live, and travel in Australia for up to 18 months. If you’re a Hong Kong passport holder, you are eligible to stay for 5 years! And after these 5 years, you may apply for permanent residency.
Post-Study Work Stream Visa
This visa is applicable to students who graduate from an Australian university. The duration of your stay depends on the level of your qualification:
- Bachelor’s degree (this includes honours) – 2 years
- Master’s by coursework – 2 years
- Master’s by research – 3 years
- Doctoral degree – 4 years
You’re not eligible for this stream if you have a diploma or trade qualification from an Australian university.
Again, Hong Kong passport holders are eligible to stay for 5 years, after which they may qualify for permanent residency!
For both the above work stream visas, you need to:
- Complete a CRICOS-registered course that is at least 92 weeks (2 years) long
- Complete your program over a minimum of 16 months
- Study a program in English
- Hold an Australian study visa
- Meet all your course requirements
Second Post-Study Work Stream
If you already hold the Post-Study Work Stream Visa, you may apply to extend your stay by 1-2 years. The duration depends on where you live and study.
- Category 2 Area (Cities and Major Regional Centres) – 1 year
- Category 3 Area (Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas) – 2 years
Through these post-study work visa options, you can fulfil the requirements to qualify for permanent residency!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which country is easy for international students to get PR in?
“Easy” is probably a misleading word. To get permanent residency in most immigration-friendly countries, you need a long-term plan. In most cases, you need to live, study and work in the country for a certain time to qualify. Your qualifications and work experience also need to meet what the country’s looking for.
Regardless, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia all offer opportunities for post-work study visas to start you on the journey. Each of these countries has its own visa requirements. In general, all require you to work and live in the country for a certain time before qualifying for permanent residency. Thankfully, the post-study work visas give you a head start to do just that.
Which country is best to study abroad in?
What constitutes “best” depends on you. Are you looking for the best quality education in the world? Many of the top ranked universities of the world are in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, and other countries.
Is affordability a concern? Canada, for instance, is more affordable for tuition than other English-speaking countries. Or are you looking for opportunities to study and eventually settle as a permanent resident in a country? Our top choices are Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Thanks to their excellent post-study work visas, you can open the door to permanent residency opportunities after you study abroad in an immigration-friendly country.
Our Final Thoughts
Canada, New Zealand, and Australia are among the best options to study abroad in an immigration-friendly country. Immigration opportunities in these countries give you room to get post-study work visas after completing your program. And while on these work visas, you can work towards getting permanent residency!
Each of these countries is home to some of the best universities worldwide. Not only do these greatly improve your employability thanks to your stellar education and qualifications, but they also prepare you for the countries’ highly attractive work environments. With great average incomes, modern infrastructure, lovely climates, gorgeous landscapes, and friendly people, these countries are considered the best places to live for a reason.
So, if you’re looking to study abroad in an immigration-friendly country – these are great places to get started.