Canada’s Immigration Minister: ‘We want more international students to stay’

February 16, 2018

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, says the Government of Canada wants international students to become permanent residents in Canada.

Hussen told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration that helping international students stay in Canada is a key facet of Canada’s new multi-year immigration levels plan for 2018-2020.

“Part of our push for multi-year planning is to have more space for international students and other skilled individuals who would like to live in Canada,” Hussen said.

Deputy Immigration Minister Marta Morgan told the committee that there are currently a number of pathways for students to become permanent residents either by applying through the federal Express Entry selection system or by taking advantage of Provincial Nominee Programs, which are designed to meet labour market needs.

Committee member Randeep Sarai, a Liberal Member of Parliament from Surrey, British Columbia, asked Hussen to clarify whether the government’s multi-year immigration levels plan accounted for the prospective increase the number of international students applying for permanent residence.

The minister confirmed that such an increase was factored into the plan’s admission targets for the next three years.

International students an Express Entry priority

The committee also considered the government’s reasons for its November 2016 changes to the Express Entry system’s Comprehensive Ranking System that reduced the number of points it awards for a job offer from 600 to between 50 and 200 points.

At the same time, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced new points for Canadian study experience.

Level of education Additional CRS points
One- or two-year post-secondary program 15
Post-secondary program of three years or more, or Master’s, Doctoral, or eligible entry-to-practice professional degree 30

One of the reasons offered for these changes was the fact 600 points for a job offer disadvantaged international students despite their typically higher scores in so-called human capital factors like age, education and language proficiency.

A recent IRCC report showed that the change to job offer points is putting greater emphasis on such factors, which it said are “strongly correlated to higher earning potential.”

The study also revealed that the proportion of former international students invited to apply for permanent residence from the Express Entry pool increased by 10 per cent in the first six months after it introduced the additional Canadian study experience points.

Canada’s Immigration Minister: ‘We want more international students to stay’ 2

Note: These numbers represent a small sample of invitations to apply and do not necessarily point to long‐term trends. IRCC will continue to monitor the impact of the reforms in the coming months, February 2017.

Provincial Nominee Programs offer unique international graduate streams

Canada’s provinces also continue to tailor their programs to better serve recent international graduates and help facilitate their pathway to permanent immigration.

In prime study destination provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, there are provincial programs that offer unique options for international graduates that do not require a job offer to apply, such as Ontario’s Masters and PhD Graduate Streams and BC’s Express Entry: International Post-Graduate category.

Also, Canada’s Atlantic provinces offer pathways to permanent settlement for international students. The regional Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, introduced last year, also offers advantages to graduates and employers alike.

As of July 2017, the federal government reported that 600 Atlantic employers had expressed interest in the program.

In its multi-year immigration levels plan, the Canadian government will double the annual allocation for the AIPP every year from 2018 to 2020.

Canadian Citizenship has also been made more accessible to international students through changes that now allow former students to count the time spent in Canada on a temporary visa, such as a study permit.

All evidence points to the Canadian government’s continued support of pathways to permanent immigration for talented and valuable graduates from around the world.

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