February 10, 2017 — Canadian universities expect a huge upswing in interest from international students following Donald Trump’s extreme anti-immigration policies in the U.S.
But any increase in interest will not be fully realised until the application process begins again in September for places to start in the 2018-2019 academic year.
Many schools – including the University of British Columbia – were already closed for 2017-2018 applications when Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries on January 27, 2017.
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The ban – although currently suspended following a court order – sent a clear message to all prospective new immigrants, including international students, that America may not be the place to be a newcomer under the Trump administration.
Canadian universities have witnessed an upturn in interest ever since Trump won the U.S. election back in November.
Traffic to university websites, from within the U.S. and abroad, peaked on election night and has been substantially higher ever since, meaning the 2017-2018 international student application numbers are likely to have been higher.
But there remained an element of ‘wait and see’ until Trump came to power. Now that the new U.S. administration has directly attempted to enact some of the extreme policies Trump spoke about on the campaign trail, the message for potential newcomers is abundantly clear.
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The perceptions of Canada and the U.S. could not be more different in the international community. While Trump goes about his immigration crackdown, Canada has announced sustained record immigration numbers and tweaked its immigration system to help satisfy economic needs.
One of those tweaks will make it easier for international students to begin their working lives in Canada once they graduate.
The carrot of being given a pathway to permanent residence after graduation gives Canada an overwhelmingly strong case for drawing away some of the more than a million international students attending U.S. schools in 2016.
International students pay up to two or three times the tuition fees of Canadian students, making them key contributors to the budgets of the top universities across the country.
One estimate suggested the U.S. international student population was worth $32 billion a year to its economy.
International Graduates Under Express Entry
Changes made to Canada’s Express Entry System mean international students completing recognized degrees and diplomas in Canada are now specifically awarded points for the first time.
Students completing a three-year post secondary, master’s, professional degree or doctorate will get 30 extra points, while those who complete a post secondary diploma of at least one year duration score 15 points. No points are awarded for a high school certificate obtained in Canada.
Points Awarded for Canadian Education Under Express Entry
|Education Level||Number of Points|
|One or two-year post secondary||15|
|Three-year post secondary, master’s, professional degree or doctorate||30|
In order to score Canadian education points, the candidate must have:
- Studied in Canada at a Canadian educational institution.
- Been enrolled in full-time study or training for at least eight months.
- Been physically present in Canada for at least eight months.
Provinces Switch Focus to International Students
Canada’s provinces are already focusing on attracting international students to their universities, and on welcoming international graduates through their immigration programs.
Recent rounds of invitations issued under British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program have been heavily weighted towards international graduates.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has introduced a pilot program designed to attract international graduates to remain in the province.
Graduates in fields such as health care, entrepreneurship, computer engineering and ocean sciences will see their salaries subsidized under the program, initially open to 50 graduates.
The University of Prince Edward Island is also increasing its international student recruitment efforts following significant success in growing its cohort.
With numbers of Canadian-born undergraduates dropping off in recent years, the school now relies on students from abroad to drive growth in enrollment numbers.
The latest figures from 2015 show 17 per cent of the overall student population is from overseas – or 748 out of total enrollment of 4,317.
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