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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 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