As of November 2011, international PhD students who wish to become permanent residents of Canada may submit applications for processing as Federal Skilled Workers.
In order to be eligible, applicants must have completed at least two years of study toward the attainment of a PhD and remain in good academic standing at a provincially recognized post-secondary educational institution in Canada. Foreign nationals who have graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the preceding 12 months are also eligible.
PhD applicants must meet all the requirements of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. Thus, the PhD student will require at least one year of work experience.
Ultimately, the advantage of this program is that a PhD student with work experience may apply for PR status during the course of their studies whereas as in the past such students would have had to make their applications from outside the country. As well the program provides for the possibility of being allowed to remain in the country after the conclusion of studies as a permanent resident whereas in the past such students would likely have left Canada and been required to make their applications from outside Canada.