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International Students Discuss Studying Abroad During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The thought of studying abroad during a global pandemic may seem daunting to many. However international students in countries around the world are managing as best they can while they pursue their higher education overseas. In the above video, THE Student asked five overseas students about their university experiences in the age of COVID-19.

The students highlighted a rage of topics from what the visa application process was like to advice on making friends in online lectures. They also shared their most important tips for anyone who is thinking about their own study abroad experience in the future.

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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.

Top MBA Programs in Canada

In our most recent blog post we discussed Canada as the emerging destination for MBA programs. As more and more international students are looking towards Canadian universities for their MBA programs, here is a list of top Canadian Business Schools that offer excellent programs and opportunities for a Masters In Business Administration. These universities in Canada also rank among the most preferable destinations for international students due to their flexibility of the subjects and quality of education.

University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management

Ranked as 65th globally by the Financial Times, Rotman School of Management has a variety of MBA courses on offer. As you move forward in your career, an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management gives you the knowledge, agility and confidence you need to transform your future. Master business fundamentals and fulfill your potential with Canada’s leading MBA program.

Western University – Ivey Business School

Ivey’s one-year MBA Program covers all the fundamentals and is grounded in a real world, practical learning experience featuring the case method approach. This transformational experience is at the core of Ivey’s leadership development culture.

York University – Schulich School of Business

Ranked as the top university by Forbes and CNN expansion this institute provides a MBA with flexibility. The Schulich School of Business is the business school of York University located in Toronto. The institution provides undergraduate and graduate degree and diploma programs in business administration, finance, accounting, business analytics, public administration and international business as well as a number of PhD and executive programs. Schulich’s degree programs balance quantitative and much sought after management and leadership skills. All programs combine classroom learning with case work and real world projects presented from multiple stakeholder perspectives.

University of British Columbia – Sauder School of Business

The 16-month, full-time program at UBC Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School is an opportunity for high-achieving, ambitious professionals to take their career to the next level. Seeking new opportunities? Want to take the lead in your field? Nurturing an entrepreneurial idea? This MBA program will stimulate your mind, give you fresh perspectives, and help you realize your personal and professional potential.

McGill University – Desautels Faculty of Management

Founded in 1906, the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University is ranked as one of the world’s top international business schools. The Faculty’s innovative programs and historic reputation for excellence continue to attract the finest students and the most prominent professors from around the globe to its downtown campus located in the vibrant metropolis of Montreal.

HEC Montreal

HEC Montreal is ranked as one of the top universities in Canada in an MBA. This university provides state-of-the-art facilities for students who are willing to pursue a career in business.

University of Ottawa – Telfer School of Management

The University of Ottawa is also one of the top universities for pursuing a MBA. They also have joint degree courses which help in building additional skills and also excel in business. The one of only 2 business schools in Canada and one of only 80 business schools in the world to have achieved the triple crown of accreditations. Named the highest value MBA program in Ontario by Canadian Business Magazine in 2016.

International Education Week – Saskatchewan Plans to Attract More International Students

Saskatchewan to strengthen the province as a destination for international students and researchers post pandemic

In an initiative to attract more international students, the province of Saskatchewan is pleased to observe International Education Week from November 16-20, 2020.

“International education is an important driver for Saskatchewan’s economic and cultural growth,” Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky said. “By connecting Saskatchewan and Canada to other parts of the world, students have the unique opportunity to develop new skills and learn to think globally to position the province for the future.”

Like almost all other provinces in Canada this year has been challenging for universities and in general the education sector. Prior to COVID-19 pandemic, international students contributed more than $222 million each year to Saskatchewan’s economy. While constrained in these unprecedented times, the province is taking steps to be a market of choice post-pandemic.

Saskatchewan recognises that strengthening the province as a destination for international students and researchers through a strategy is going to be a key component of the province’s growth plan. The province will be focusing on three goals:

  • Increasing the number of international students in Saskatchewan
  • Increasing the number of Saskatchewan students studying abroad
  • Increasing the number and value of international research partnerships

The University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina are known for excellence in research. In 2018-19, $19 million was provided to Saskatchewan researchers to fund more than 4,100 internationally co-authored published papers. University faculty across the province engage in global research and contribute to a vast array of topics that impact the world.

International Education Week is celebrated in more than 100 countries to raise awareness and understanding of the benefits of international education. To learn more about International Education Week, please visit: http://cbie.ca/upcoming-events/international-education-week

Source: https://www.yorktonthisweek.com/regional-news/interational-education-week-in-sask-1.24239923

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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

Chinese Students Say They Still Plan to Study in Canada

Source: University Affairs | Image Credit: Kochstrasse

Some overseas students have found themselves worried about moving to North America for their studies due to ongoing racial tensions. While a recent article in University Affairs highlights students from Asian countries, this group certainly is not the first to experience such apprehension. While any instance of racism on a Canadian college or university campus will be dealt with by the proper authorities, the fact remains that even one racist incident is too many.

International students coming to Canada should know that faculty and their fellow students will support them if they need to talk or feel worried about stories they see online. Campuses in Canada are largely very multicultural with students who come from all walks of life. Many have felt the same way and are more than happy to help newcomers through what they might be going through. When it comes to equality, we are all in this together.

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.