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Immigrants Increasingly Turning to Smaller Canadian Cities

Source: Study International

The recent surge in popularity of Canada as a study abroad destination suggests that people from around the world see the country as a great place to live and learn. Cities with and near major universities and colleges have often been thought to benefit most from this influx of overseas learners. However new data from Ryerson University indicates that smaller cities across Canada are witnessing an even greater rise in the number of new Canadians moving in.

Major cities like Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, and Toronto saw their combined number of new immigrants rise 9% from 2013-2019. In the same time period, places like Regina, Saskatoon, Fredericton, and Halifax saw an increase of 45%.

These smaller cities all have universities that are highly rated and boast scholarships for international students as well as increasingly multicultural communities. The cost of living in less dense parts of Canada is also lower than in the major metropolises.

The data also make sense because provinces like Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan have all recently introduced plans to address changes in the job market and deal with potential skills shortages. Immigrants choosing these provinces, as opposed to British Columbia or Ontario for example, suggest that these plans are well on their way to success.

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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

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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 Leads in Recruiting Foreign Students

“A degree from a Canadian university has worldwide recognition and opens many doors for international students after graduation, whether they choose to stay and work in Canada or pursue opportunities elsewhere in the world”

An expert on international graduate’s career outcomes in Asia believes Canada will stay a top destination for foreign students should it focus on employability.

Louise Nicol, director of the Asia Careers Group also suggested “With robust data on international graduate outcomes, Canada would be the first nation to put employability at the heart of their National Inbound International Student Recruitment campaign and lead the pack in terms of evidencing the return on investment of a Canadian degree.”

Nicol further adds, this will differentiate and maintain Canada’s growth in the international higher education sector during and following the global pandemic. She also referred to a recent article she authored on the shifting dynamics of foreign students in University World News.

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada estimates that in recent years, international education has been Canada’s fourth-largest export sector, with international students contributing between $15 billion and $26 billion to the Canadian economy from tuition fees (which are considerably higher than domestic student fees), accommodation, and other local expenses.

In 2018, India surpassed China as the single largest source of international students in Canada. Over a 10-year period, the number of Indian students skyrocketed from roughly 5,000 in 2008-09 to 172,00 in 2018. In addition to India, several Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – have been identified by Canada as very promising new markets for international students.

Overall, Canada’s international student population has grown six-fold over the past 20 years. In the last decade alone, it has tripled.

International employability is already a key part of Canada’s foreign student recruitment strategy said Cindy McIntyre, Assistant Director of International Relations at Universities Canada.

“A degree from a Canadian university has world-wide recognition and opens many doors for international students after graduation, whether they choose to stay and work in Canada or pursue opportunities elsewhere in the world,” said McIntyre.

“International students make excellent candidates for permanent residency, as they are usually proficient in at least one official language, have Canadian educational qualifications, and possess in-demand skills that can help address Canada’s labour market needs.

“Given these advantages, it is not surprising that 53,700 international students became permanent residents of Canada in 2018,” she said.

Source: Asian Pacific Post