International graduates from Canadian universities are exactly what the country needs to boost the economy and rebalance the demographic.
That’s the opinion of Immigration Minister John McCallum, who sees foreign students as blue chip new permanent residents for Canada.
They are young, have Canadian qualifications and are ready to get out there into the labour force.
“Canada is an aging country, so we need new young immigrants to support our economy and help make it grow,” McCallum said.
Numbers of international students have almost doubled since 2008, from just over 184,000 to nearly 355,000 in 2015.
Chinese students dominate those numbers, with nearly 120,000 in the country as of the end of 2015. McCallum still said recently that he would like the Chinese numbers to increase dramatically, even double, in years to come.
Students from India, France, South Korea and the USA round off the top five nationalities.
McCallum plans to change the Express Entry System to give international graduates from Canadian universities more points, and therefore a bigger chance of staying in the country.
This is expected to not only result in more graduates staying on, but also attract more foreign students to universities, given they know they have a better chance of staying after their course concludes.
Currently when students come to the end of their courses they go into the Express Entry pool with no special treatment.
More often than not they have to leave, especially given their lack of formal work experience in their fields.
But that is set to change as part of the Liberal government overhaul of the Canadian immigration system, details of which are expected to be made public in September.
McCallum recently visited both China and the Philippines with the message that Canada’s immigration doors are open, especially to international students.
His aim was to start the process of opening up to 10 new visa processing centres in China, while in the Philippines he also talked up planned changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also visit China this month, as the Liberals go on a charm offensive in Asia.
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