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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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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.

Is Alberta the New Hot Canadian Province for International Students?

Alberta has two new PNPs for international student graduates who want to start a business in the province

The higher education system in Alberta is globally recognized for outstanding universities, colleges, technical institutes and state-of-the-art research facilities. The University of Alberta alone is home to a friendly community of over 7,700 international students. In fact, University of Alberta’s Maple Leaf scholarships are specifically offered to international students in Canada and recognize outstanding academic achievement. Read more about University of Alberta here.

With Alberta’s new PNPs, international students have even more reason to choose this munificent Canadian province. The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) has announced two new immigration pathways to encourage international graduates to open businesses in Alberta.

The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream started on October 26. This new Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is for recent international student graduates from Alberta post-secondaries. The new immigration stream operates on an Expression of Interest system, which is now open to submissions. Candidates who submit an Expression of Interest will be assessed by the AINP and given points. The highest-ranking candidates will receive an invitation to submit a Business Application. Only candidates who receive the invitation, or Request, to apply will be able to access the AINP portal and start the process. However, receiving a Request is not a guarantee that applicants will get Canadian permanent residence.

Alberta will also launch the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream in January 2021. This stream is for international student graduates from top U.S. universities and colleges, who want to start a business and settle in Alberta communities. More details on this stream will be available later this year.

Eligibility criteria for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream

International student graduates from all Alberta university and colleges must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be considered for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream.

  • They must be immigrating to Alberta to establish a new business or buy an existing business, and have at least 34 per cent ownership of the company. The proposed business type must not be on Alberta’s list of ineligible businesses.
  • Candidates need at least six months of full-time work experience, which can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business, according to the AINP webpage. This could also include an equivalent amount of experience with a business incubator, business accelerator, or entrepreneurship program courses.

Eligible candidates also need a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of at least seven in all proficiencies in either English or French.

There are also a number of factors that increase candidates’ chances of receiving a Request. The business should have an economic benefit to Alberta through job creation, investment, and developed intellectual property among others. Candidates ages 21 to 49 years old also have an advantage. If the candidate or their spouse or common law partner have immediate family living full-time in Alberta, it will also increase their chances. Spouses or common-law partners may contribute to a candidate’s application if they have at least one year of full-time work experience in Alberta, or at least two years of full-time study at an Albertan post-secondary. If they don’t have Alberta experience, it will also help their application if they have a CLB of at least five in English or French in all language abilities.

Source: CIC News