John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship confirmed the Liberal government is looking to ease some rules to make it easier for international students who have been « shortchanged » by the express entry system to obtain permanent residency.
Introduced by the previous Conservative government, the Express entry system was seen as a way to fill the country’s labour needs by fast-tracking permanent residency for highly skilled foreign nationals.
« We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents, » McCallum said following a meeting this week in Toronto with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
« International students have been shortchanged by the express entry system, » McCallum said. « They are the cream of the crop, in terms of potential future Canadians. »
Many international students have been calling on the Liberal government to give them extra points for post-secondary credentials obtained in Canada by making some changes to the system used to rank foreign nationals under express entry.
McCallum said he was committed to reforming the system, « I do know that it’s become more difficult since express entry for international students to become permanent residents, and I believe that international students are among the most fertile source of new immigrants for Canada. So they should be first on our list of people whom we court to come to Canada, »
The Liberals have recently confirmed plans to reverse some of the changes that were made to the Citizenship Act under the Tories. New rules being debated in Parliament will count half of the time a foreign national spends in Canada, to a maximum of one year, towards the citizenship residence qualifications.
According to a report published recently by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the labour marker impact assessment document is seen as the biggest flaw in the express entry system by some businesses. Mr. McCallum also said he is reviewing the need for employers to apply for the document which is required when hiring a foreign national over a Canadian.
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