Thousands of foreign students were unable to apply for permanent residence under the Canada Experience Class (CEC) last year after the 2014 limit on the program was exceeded. The students had tried to file their applications prior to the introduction of the Express Entry system which makes it more difficult for them to get permanent residency.
Foreign students made up to 40% of eligible candidates under the CEC, a program which was also used by highly skilled temporary foreign workers. The CEC was hugely popular among international students as it almost guaranteed permanent residence to them if they had relevant Canadian work experience.
Figures show that about 8,000 applications filed under CEC last year were not accepted. These applicants will now have to apply under the new Express Entry system, which is not a favorable option for students.
“Students now have to engage in this kind of lottery. When someone is coming here and paying international tuition fees and getting work experience, why should they be judged like someone applying from abroad,” says immigration expert Lev Abramovich.
Until recently, candidates who possessed a positive LMIA (labor market impact assessment) were more likely to receive invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system. However, the latest group of Express Entry invitees included many applicants without an LMIA, increasing the chance for foreign students to receive invitations.
But most international students still feel that the new system makes it tougher for them to get jobs in Canada. “Under the old system, you could tell your manager legitimately that you are applying for permanent residency. It created more of a trusting relationship. Under the new system, you are waiting to be invited. … there’s now a risk that is involved,” says a recent foreign graduate.
The federal government insists that Express Entry will benefit foreign students even more once it is fully implemented by 2017, as the students then would not have to get their credentials assessed for Canadian equivalency.
But immigration experts have warned that countries that have implemented work restrictions on international students have seen a huge decline in their numbers, and that the same could happen in Canada as well. For instance, the UK saw an alarming 50% decline in students from India and Pakistan after it imposed restrictions on their right to work there after graduation. With foreign students paying more than double the tuition fees compared to local students, their declining numbers would mean losses in revenues that Canadian universities want to avoid.
In 2014, Canadian universities had about 133,000 undergraduate and graduate foreign students in attendance, with a total of 120,000 study permits granted to international students at colleges and universities. Surveys show that more than half of these students intend to stay on in Canada after graduation.
Immigration experts have warned that Canada’s new permanent residence application system will discourage many top level professionals from coming to Canada while also making it difficult for foreign students to continue working in the country. Read More
Source: CTV News
They’re the new “it kids” of higher education — international students who pay big bucks and bring a global feel to campus — and now, a year ahead of schedule, Ontario has topped its goal of attracting 50 per cent more to its colleges and universities.
Since Queen’s Park vowed in 2010 to boost the ranks of foreign students to 57,000 within five years, their numbers have grown to 66,417 and counting, said MPP Reza Moridi, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities. There are now 43,159 at university and 23,258 at community college.
The province plans to keep chasing these global whiz kids to boost the economy and enrich the ivory tower, he said, even as some warn they’re being exploited with inflated fees and little support.
However, the drive for these lucrative visitors — who pay up to three or four times more tuition than their Ontario peers with little chance of financial aid or affordable health coverage — has sparked warnings. Student groups say Ontario should limit their tuition hikes just as it does for home-grown students, and let international students use OHIP instead of making them pay $800 for a private insurance plan that is not accepted at all hospitals.
A Statistics Canada report Thursday showed international undergraduate fees in Ontario rose by 10 per cent last year.
The Canadian Federation of Students in Ontario was to meet Friday with officials from Ontario’s health ministry to discuss the possibility of letting international students use the province’s health plan, as is permitted in Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
Some 4.5 million students around the world are getting their post-secondary education abroad — twice as many as roughly a decade ago — and more than half of them come from Asia. The United States draws the largest share at 17 per cent, the United Kingdom 16 per cent, Australia 6 per cent and Canada 5 per cent, according to fresh figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The University of Toronto ramped up its international recruitment in 2008 and now has 12,600 foreign students, roughly 15 per cent of enrolment — twice the share as 12 years ago, said Jill Matus, vice-provost of students.
“They enrich the fabric and diversity of the university — even the National Survey of Student Engagement (used at universities across North America) asks students how often they discuss ideas with someone from a different country,” said Matus. “This is built into what the U of T is. It’s part of our tradition.”
The University of Toronto streamlined its recruitment to other countries and focused more on spots such as Turkey and parts of India and the United States, she said.
However, the university also helps foreign students adjust once they’re here. It pilot-tested a new pre-Orientation week this year called Step Up for 120 international students who stayed together for five days in a downtown residence and learned about the Ontario academic system, met professors and Canadian students and got over their jet lag before having to tackle regular Frosh Week, said Miranda Cheng, director of the Centre for International Experience.
The University of Toronto also has hired a “learning strategist” to help international students with issues from taking notes to what Ontario universities consider cheating. Some students are not used to Canada’s definition of plagiarism, said Bangladeshi-born Arif Abu, co-ordinator of international student services for Ryerson University’s 1,800 foreign students.
“In some cultures, knowledge is public property and you often don’t have to do proper citation — and in a friendship, you share your homework, so a lot of international students struggle with this at first,” said Abu, who came to Ryerson 11 years ago to earn a bachelor and master’s degree — and stayed.
“Class participation can also be different. If you came from a culture where you learn from your seniors, it’s hard to find yourself in a place where you’re expected to question everything, open your mind and speak up in class.”
York University has worked to raise the number of international students to about 6,000, about 10 per cent of total enrolment — with hopes to raise it to 15 per cent, said Rhonda Lenton, vice-president academic.
“International students contribute to the vibrancy of the university, but I think it’s imperative that if you open your doors, you provide students with the kind of supports they need.”
York has reached out in a number of ways, from setting up online “webinars” and Skype sessions before they leave home to airport welcome receptions and a free shuttle bus ride to campus when they land.
York also runs special sessions for international students during orientation week, said Lenton, and offers seminars on everything from Canadian banking and transit to academic culture. It also offers winter holiday activities for foreign students who can’t go home for the holidays.
“The last few years we’ve really tried to hone our supports for international students,” said Lenton.
“It’s not just about recruiting them; it’s about retaining them.”
Source: The Star
Attorney Colin Singer Commentary:
Current immigration policies are aimed at attracting foreign students and offering them access to permanent residence programs. Studies show this increases the chances for higher retention rates.