man sitting on a green grass field

Relief for International Students As Canada Extends Work Permits Due to COVID-19

Beginning January 27, foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or soon-to-be-expired post-graduation work permit can apply for an 18-month extension

In a recent media release for the University of Toronto, author Yanan Wang interviewed Nana Sakyi, an international student from Ghana who recently completed a master’s degree in Canada. The article, dated January 27 2021, shed light on the apprehensions and nervousness of several International students like Sakyi, following a global pandemic that brought the world to a halt. 

In addition to health risks posed by the novel coronavirus, for international students the last several months were particularly uncertain because of the possibility that their work permits would run out before they find employment, putting their immigration status at risk.

Luckily, in an effort to ease the strain on international students who are graduating from post-secondary institutions amid the pandemic, the federal government recently announced a plan that will give them more time to find work. Foreign nationals in Canada with an expired or soon-to-be-expired post-graduation work permit can currently apply for an 18-month extension.

The policy seeks to help foreign nationals who are currently in Canada meet the requisite work hours to be eligible to apply for permanent residence.

“The work permit extension gives international graduates another year and a half to contribute to the Canadian workforce. That’s a huge benefit to Canada and the individual students who wish to take it up,” said Katherine Beaumont, senior director of global learning opportunities and international student success at U of T’s Centre for International Experience (CIE).

Beaumont added that the centre plans to make more international students aware of the new policy through alumni newsletters and the university’s career development resources. In response to a growing international student population and an increased need for guidance and advice on the documentation required to be an international student in Canada, U of T has increased the number of certificated international student immigration advisers based at CIE.  As a result, CIE has been able to increase immigration advising to students by a factor of four since the pandemic began – all while adding new ways to serve students, including online and phone appointments, webinars and drop-ins.

 “A lot of international students were very, very happy about this policy because this gives them the time to work towards starting the permanent residence process,” said Pooja Gupta, who earned her engineering master’s degree last year from U of T’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and serves as president of the school’s International Students’ Council.

“Canada’s immigration policies are what gives the country an edge in terms of attracting talent.”

Source: University of Toronto

focused men with notebooks at table

Past International Students in Canada Now Eligible for New Open Work Permit

Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, international students who have recently graduated now face a difficult situation if they hold a post-graduation work permit (PGWP). For these new graduates to apply for permanent residence in Canada, they are required to work a certain number of hours to gain experience. However with lockdown measures in place throughout so many communities, this is difficult to accomplish before the deadline.

The Government of Canada has acted to help international students by giving current and former PGWP holders the chance to apply for an open work permit that will be valid for 18 months. This decision aims to assist overseas students who either held or still hold a PGWP by letting them continue their job search in these uncertain times. Foreign nationals will be able to apply from January 27 to July 27, 2021.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino said, “Our message to international students and graduates is simple: we don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”

In 2019, an excess of 58,000 graduates applied to immigrate to Canada and the government seeks to increase this number further in the years to come. It values study abroad students as not just new contributors to the economy but skilled immigrants who, with their top-tier Canadian education and work experience, can help the nation return to strength post-pandemic.

Canada Emerges As the Preferred Destination for International MBA Programs

Institutions offering MBA programs in Canada have witnessed a surge in applications as international students look beyond the United States for their MBA. Asian and Latin-American students have shown a preference for alternatives. 50% of those surveyed stated Canada as their choice, up from 38% last year.

“We’re seeing candidates who would have historically checked out Ivy League colleges within the U.S. up to now,” mentioned Teresa Pires, Affiliate Director of recruitment and admissions for the MBA program of Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. “As a result of it could be tougher to remain within the U.S., securing everlasting residency, job safety, they only really feel prefer it’s a safer guess right here.”

Reports suggests U.S.-based MBA programmes had already witnessed a 14% drop in foreign students before the pandemic. Some of the factors like high cost of tuition and changing immigration policies together caused this depreciation. Now, many aspirants have deferred their MBA admissions by a year rather than attend classes completely or partially online due to the pandemic. Students favour Canada for its guaranteed work permit that allows them to work for any Canadian employer, as against the highly restrictive work permits of the U.S.

Joseph Milner, Vice Dean of MBA packages on the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, mentioned its home functions elevated this 12 months, partly due to Canadian college students’ willingness to remain nearer to home. He additionally mentioned abroad functions for its 2021 admissions cycle have been surging as many potential college students favour the nation’s assured work allow in contrast with the U.S. scholar visa system. They allow permits worldwide graduates to work for any Canadian employer with out the requirement of a job provide on the time of making use of.

“During the last three to four years, U.S. immigration coverage has made Canada a spot individuals need to come,” Mr. Milner mentioned.

Source: Wall Street Journal

high angle photo of robot

Study Suggests STEM-Educated Students Have Higher Chances of Employment in Canada

Statistics Canada compares economic outcomes of STEM-educated immigrants in Canada and the U.S.

Immigrants make up a large share of university-educated workers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) fields in both Canada and the U.S., and a more recent study looked into which of the two countries see better outcomes for immigrants in these sectors.

The study found that a higher percentage of Canada’s STEM-educated workforce are immigrants compared to the U.S. The number of STEM-educated immigrants who entered Canada rose significantly during the 1990s in response to the high-tech boom, and has remained at high levels since then. In general, Canada does not face a shortage of STEM workers, the study suggests.

As a standard practice, when there’s an abundance of workers, employers may tend to hire STEM graduates from universities that they are familiar with, and who have experience from countries with similar economies to Canada. Thereby, giving more advantage to STEM workers who have studied in Canada.

Canada’s points-based immigration system, which has been in use since the 1960s, selects economic immigrants based on their human capital. These days, the Express Entry system ranks candidates based on factors like education, work experience, age, and language ability. The highest-scoring candidates get invited to apply for permanent immigration. Though candidates can get extra points for having a job offer, in some cases, it is not required in order to immigrate to Canada. Canadian employers play a larger role in immigrant selection in the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) federal immigration program, as well as many Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), than compared to the Federal Skilled Worker Program. The study found that STEM-educated immigrants that immigrate through the CEC do relatively well compared to others, and those who go through the PNP typically have the poorest outcomes. One major difference is that the CEC requires immigrants to have at least one year of skilled work experience in Canada, whereas the PNP is more varied, and includes pathways for low-skilled and medium-skilled workers to become permanent residents.

Country of education may differ significantly among STEM-educated immigrants in Canada and the U.S. STEM immigrants educated in non-Western countries do not do as well, economically, as others. The study suggest this is for a number of reasons, for example, the quality of education may be lower, or perceived to be lower. In the absence of a shortage of STEM workers, employers may prefer to hire those educated in Western counties. Also, some credentials are not recognized by professional associations in the host country, either for valid or invalid reasons, and this may prevent immigrants from developing countries from getting STEM jobs. Language or cultural issues may also prevent immigrants from being able to use their STEM education.

New Immigration Pathways for International Students in Canada

Canada Is Looking At Making It A Lot Easier For International Students To Live And Work In Canada

In a recent development, Canada is looking at offering more permanent residence pathways to foreign nationals and International students who are already in the country. This news comes after the announcement that Canada would welcome over 400,000 immigrants per year over the next three years, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told Bloomberg that the federal government will make a formal announcement on this soon.

The immigration minister also added that it is important for Canada to identify how it can accelerate pathways to permanent residence for international students, temporary foreign workers, and asylum seekers who are already in the country. This is necessary to alleviate the economic challenges Canada is currently facing in part due to lower immigration levels caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both permanent and temporary residents have dropped significantly this year. After a net increase of more than 190,000 temporary residents in 2019, the first half of 2020 has seen that number decrease to 18,221. Permanent resident numbers are down 60 per cent year-over-year according to government data from August. Based on its current pace, Canada is set to welcome only 200,000 or so permanent residents this year.

Mendicino told Bloomberg that making temporary residents permanent will address Canada’s short-term needs to respond to coronavirus. He also said it will help address Canada’s long-term demographic challenges, which include an aging population and low birth rate. These two factors mean that more gaps will be created in the labour market as the older population retires. With a low natural growth rate, Canada will need immigrants in order to sustain the population and ensure that open positions in the labour force are filled.

The government will look at the foreign talent that is already in Canada in order to find the asylum seekers, students, and workers who have the skills that align with essential services in the economy, Mendicino told Bloomberg.

He also said that students from other countries are “particularly attractive” as potential counter forces to the effects of an aging population. Because of this, the government is making it easier for them to work in Canada.

Additionally, Canada is allowing online study at a Canadian designated learning institution between May 2020 and April 2021 to count towards future Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) eligibility. The PGWP is coveted among international students because it enables them to gain the Canadian work experience they often need to be eligible for a range of economic class immigration programs. These programs include Express Entry’s Canadian Experience Class, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), and Quebec Experience Program. Canada has also recently opened up its borders to students who are enrolled in classes at post-secondaries that have COVID-19 readiness plans.

International Students Can Return to Nova Scotia Universities from November

Universities in Nova Scotia are all set to welcome back international students who have been kept away due to the COVID-19 pandemic

According to an official release from the province of Nova Scotia, over 24 institutions from the province are expected to start accepting international students in early November with extra health precautions in place. In more recent news, several schools across Canada were approved to make the move last week.

Saint Mary’s University in Halifax is one of the post-secondary schools in the province that will be allowed to accept international students back on campus in November. Robert Summerby-Murray, president of Saint Mary’s University welcomed the decision. He added, “International students bring a tremendous vibrancy, of course”.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada keeps a list of learning institutions that can receive international students. Nova Scotia schools are expected to be included when the list is updated on Nov. 3. Although this first semester has been completely online, Saint Mary’s is moving to a hybrid learning model this winter where students can attend more classes and lectures on campus depending on their year and program.

All post-secondary schools have to follow public health guidelines including ensuring students arriving from another country quarantine for 14 days, as well as providing accommodations, transportation and meals during quarantine. Summerby-Murray said Saint Mary’s has space in residences and off-campus housing ready for international students, while certain hotels may also be an option. The number of international students continuing their studies online at Saint Mary’s this year has not changed during the pandemic, said Summerby-Murray.

Dalhousie University in Halifax expects to see at least 250 international students come back to Nova Scotia between now and Jan. 31, 2021. Janet Bryson, a spokesperson for Dalhousie, said the school’s plan to welcome those students back has been approved by the provincial Department of Advanced Education. Most of the students are already enrolled online. Upon arriving in Halifax, students will be quarantined for 14 days at a hotel approved by the university. Last year, the province said Nova Scotia welcomed more than 12,000 international post-secondary students from more than 150 countries.

Source: CBC

Where International Students Can Study in Canada (For Now)

Select colleges and universities across Canada have officially been approved to begin welcoming international students again. While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought most international travel to a halt, Canadian learning institutions will be able to bring foreign students back to their campuses again as long as certain requirements are met.

Overseas students coming to study in Canada must also meet government regulated criteria.

While not all Canadian learning institutions are currently listed, more colleges and universities will be added to the list once their provincial or territorial government approves them.

One on One Webinar: International Student Mobility

This session of the One on One webinar series features representatives from the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service and officials from Canada Campus Visits as they discuss international student mobility. Speakers in this video are, in order of appearance:

  • Husain F. Neemuchwala (President, Canada Campus Visits)
  • Karen Strang (Executive Director, Canada Campus Visits)
  • Paulo Orlandi (Canadian Trade Commissioner, Education, Forestry & Wood Products, Industrial Machinery, Brazil)
  • Mabelle Sawaqed-Hen (Canadian Trade Commissioner, Education & Training, United Arab Emirates)

Canada Grants Travel Exemption to International Students

Traveling The Mindy Project GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

Source: ICEF Monitor | Image: Hulu

In mid-March, the Canadian government announced a series of travel restrictions aimed to reduce the spread of novel coronavirus. These new rules, similar to those introduced in other countries, left international students in an uncertain position. Would students with study permits be able to enter Canada if they had been traveling or had not yet arrived in the country?

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has recently clarified the situation:

“Exemptions to the air travel restrictions will apply to foreign nationals who have already committed to working, studying or making Canada their home, and travel by these individuals will be considered essential travel for land border restrictions.”

Students who had either already been granted or approved for a study permit prior to restrictions coming into place would be able to cross the border. Those entering Canada will have to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival as a precaution in order to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

International Student Enrolments at Canadian Public Colleges and Universities

Source: Statistics Canada

New information about international students in who study in Canada has been released by the government. The infographic, shown above, outlines what Canadian provinces overseas students choose to study in, their country of origin and their fields of study. Here are some of the notable insights:

  • There were 225 source countries to send study abroad students to Canada
  • The top three source countries were, respectively: China, India and France
  • More men (158,454) than women (137,055) are studying in Canada
  • 80% of international students chose to study in the province of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec
  • 33% are pursuing a college diploma or lower while 67% are in a bachelor-level program or higher

For additional informational on foreign students in Canada, visit Statistics Canada.