The last seven months have seen an increasing sense of hopelessness among many foreign nationals who have made Canada their home, especially foreign students. Many foreign nationals come to Canada to follow a path that leads from student to permanent residence allowing them to make Canada their permanent home. But under the Express Entry system, foreign students are facing significant challenges in order to remain in Canada, with experts saying that this will lead to a drop in foreigners studying in Canada.
Prior to express entry, the pathway to permanent residency for foreign students was clearer. Upon completion of their university programs, they could apply for a post-graduate open work permit that allowed them to take up employment anywhere in Canada.
After one year of Canadian work experience, if the foreign student secured employment in a professional occupation, then s/he could file an application for permanent residence under the Canadian Experience Class, provided they fulfilled certain conditions of the program. If the application was not filed during the student’s duration of post-graduate work permit, then his or her employer had the option to file for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) with reduced criteria since most likely the student would have been working in an entry-level position.
This system was beneficial for both foreign students and employers. It gave the students definite options to remain and work in Canada, while also making it easier for employers to hire them.
However under the new rules, foreign students no longer benefit from the relaxed LMIA terms offered to their employers, thus making it difficult for them to qualify. Without an LMIA, students receive lower scores under express entry. This reduces their chances of being selected in a periodic draw.
Experts believe that while Express Entry works well in selecting candidates who possess skills that are needed to succeed in the Canadian market, it puts foreign students at a particular disadvantage even though they have acquired important skills by attending a Canadian educational program. This effectively leaves them out from the permanent residency pathway, thus shutting down a valuable resource for the Canadian economy.
The minimum number of points required to qualify under Express Entry has varied in different draws – ranging anywhere between 400-800. An LMIA, which is worth 600 points alone and practically, ensures a candidate’s selection for an invitation to apply.
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