February 3, 2017 – The national organisation representing Canada’s universities has joined the academic community in the U.S. in condemning Donald Trump’s order to ban immigration from seven Muslim countries.
Universities Canada, which rarely issues political statements, says the ban will have a profound impact on campuses across Canada.
Although Canadian dual citizens are exempt from the ban, the multitude of students and professors in the country on temporary visas remain affected.
Canadian and U.S. academics are continuously collaborating on a wide range of projects which require them to cross the border. This also goes for nationals of the seven banned countries working in America, who may wish to come to Canada for study purposes. Under the ban, they will not be allowed back into the U.S.
The University of Toronto, McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia are among several Canadian institutions who have also spoken out individually.
UBC plans to spend $250,000 on helping those who have been affected.
Dr Daniel Woolf, principal of Queen’s University in Kingston, wants to see concrete action taken.
Ideas being considered include offering temporary positions to researchers at Canadian universities, so they can continue their work during the ban.
International students and professors number in the thousands in the U.S., and are one of the largest groups affected because of their temporary status in the country.
As the U.S. clampdown continues, Canada recently made it easier for international graduates of Canadian universities to make the transition to permanent residence.
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Under the Express Entry System, points are being awarded to those who have graduated from Canadian universities for the first time.
For three-year degrees, professional qualifications, plus master’s and doctorates, candidates are awarded 30 points, while 15 points are on offer for one or two-year courses.
The federal government sees international students as blue chip new permanent residents for Canada’s future prosperity, because they are generally young, have experience of the culture, have the necessary language skills as well as recognized qualifications.
With universities struggling to grow their domestic student populations, many are relying on the international cohort to fill spaces, especially with the higher tuition fees they pay.
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
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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