New Pathway to Permanent Residency for International Graduates in Canada

Source: Government of Canada

Encouraging news was just announced for recent overseas students in Canada hoping to apply for permanent residency. Starting on May 6, 2021, those who possess the skills necessary to strengthen the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for permanent status under a new stream.

Currently employed international graduates who have completed an eligible program at a Canadian post-secondary institution no earlier than January 2017 are welcome to apply. Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada will accept 40,000 applications through this stream. Otherwise, it is expected to remain open until November 5, 2021.

In an effort to promote the official languages of Canada, English & French, an additional stream with no limit cap was also announced for Francophone and bilingual graduates.

The Government of Canada is working to show that they value the contributions of foreign students. Not only do they impact the economy but they help shape the multicultural society that Canadians cherish. These new immigration streams will hopefully encourage international talent to make their stay in Canada a permanent one and drive the country forward for years to come.

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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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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.