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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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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.

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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