The lesser-known benefits of being a Canadian permanent resident

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: February 9, 2024

For many newcomers the ability to become a permanent resident (PR) of Canada is one of the most attractive aspects of moving to the country. Permanent residence status gives individuals the ability to reside in Canada, and to study, work, and live as they wish (within the bounds of the law).

However, there are also several benefits to attaining PR that many newcomers may not be aware of, including easier access to all kinds of education, employment, and support opportunities. While these are often not the sole reasons that one immigrates to Canada, they can be hugely beneficial to new immigrants looking to start a new life in the country.

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Huge reduction in education costs

A huge advantage that new PRs can look forward to is a significant reduction in educational costs. As a PR, immigrants can access Canadian higher education at the same rates as Canadian citizens. In comparing domestic and international student fees, this can yield huge reductions in tuition—sometimes as much as 6X—at both the graduate and undergraduate level.

In addition to a huge reduction in fees, new PRs (who are formally considered domestic students under Canadian law), are able to access far more financial aid options, including federal and provincial loans, scholarships and bursaries.

Access to a wider range of settlement services

Another key advantage that new PRs will have is a far wider access to settlement services than temporary residents (those on a work/study permit, or visitor visa).

Settlement services are funded at the federal and provincial level, and cover a huge range of services, including language learning, employment help, legal aid, health and well-being assistance, social and community events, and much more. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) spends roughly $2 billion CAD on funding these services annually—with a separate grant given to Quebec. Notably, even Canadian citizens are not eligible to receive these services, with most of them restricted to PRs and some temporary residents (depending on who is funding the service).

For more information on settlement services, how to access them, and their efficacy in helping newcomers, visit our dedicated webpage here.

Visa-free travel

Yet another positive aspect of attaining PR status is new travel freedoms designated to those who have a valid Permanent Residence card. Individuals holding this document can now obtain visa-free travel to the following countries:

  • All Dutch Caribbean territories;
  • Anguilla;
  • Bahamas;
  • Belize;
  • Bermuda;
  • British Virgin Islands;
  • Cayman Islands;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Cuba;
  • Dominican Republic;
  • El Salvador;
  • Georgia;
  • Guatemala;
  • Honduras;
  • Jamaica;
  • Kosovo;
  • Mexico;
  • Nicaragua;
  • Panama;
  • Peru (Nationals of China or India only);
  • Qatar;
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon;
  • Singapore (Nationals of China or India only);
  • Sint Maarten;
  • South Korea;
  • Taiwan; and
  • Turks and Caicos Islands.

Note: all of the above countries have added specific entry and visit requirements. For the highest degree of accuracy, and to ensure no extra travel complications, it is recommended that PRs check these individual country websites at the time of their travel, to ensure that they meet all the necessary criteria.

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