Improvements to programs at both the federal and provincial government levels were introduced to attract international students and encourage them to remain in Canada after their studies
Here are some of the key highlights for 2017.
Highlights of the year
A more welcoming option to the United States
Many Canadian post-secondary institutions experienced a surge in applications from students in the United States in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election in November 2016. One week after Trump’s election, McGill University in Montreal saw a 30 per cent increase in applications from the U.S. The University of Toronto reported a jump of 70 per cent.
This increase in applications from the U.S., and the reported decline in foreign student enrolment in American post-secondary institutions, has since become a much-publicized aspect of the so-called “Trump Effect.”
Surveys conducted in 2017 found that many students opted to study in Canada because of its more tolerant political climate and diverse population.
Political trends in the U.S., however, were not the only reason international students chose Canada. These same surveys found factors like cheap tuition and work opportunities were also important factors in their decision.
Atlantic Immigration pilot launched with a stream specifically targeting international graduates
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot was launched in 2017 as an employer-driven immigration initiative between the four Atlantic provinces and the federal government.
The pilot’s Atlantic International Graduate Program offers international graduates in Atlantic provinces a unique pathway to permanent residence upon graduation without the requirement for work experience before applying.
Eligible international graduates need a full-time job offer for at least one year to apply for the program.
The federal government have release allocations for the pilot program in the Mutli-Year Immigration plan, which means the program will continue to run for at least three more years.
Montreal named Best student city in 2017
Canada’s French-speaking city overtook four-year winner, Paris, when it secured first place in the QS Best Student Cities ranking in 2017. It comes as no surprise that Montreal’s bilingual spirit lures for international students from all over the world as it offers a range of world-renown post-secondary institutions for study.
Montreal is an ideal metropolitan for students looking for both world-class education and some adventure with the wide variety of cultural events, festivals, art galleries and best of all linguistic and cultural diversity.
Ontario’s popular immigration streams reopened to invited international graduates
The Government of Ontario invited more international graduates this year under two popular streams in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program: International Students – Masters Graduate Stream and International Students – PhD Graduate Stream.
One of the reasons these two streams are popular among eligible graduates is that applicants do not require a job offer in order to be eligible.
Additionally, candidates are not required to be residing in the province at the time of application. Due to the OINP’s popularity, the province received an increase in its 6,000 nomination allocation in 2017 giving more skilled workers and graduates a change to settle in the province.
British Columbia introduces a Tech Pilot to retain tech talent in the province
International students and graduates with a job offer continued to benefit from British Columbia’s Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP), which held various program specific draws throughout the year. More than 1,200 international graduates were nominated under both the Skills Immigration and the Express Entry BC categories.
International graduates were also able to benefit from tech-only draws introduced under BC’s new Tech Pilot which offers facilitated service to skilled workers and workers in the province who have completed their education and acquired skills in one of the 32 eligible occupations.
Atlantic Canada eases settlement opportunities for international students and graduates
As what may be a reaction to recommendations made in a 2016 survey on Atlantic Canada Graduates’ Education Experience survey, many Atlantic provinces introduced work and settlement programs that target international graduates who are looking to settle in the region.
The survey concluded that 75 per cent of international students demonstrated interest in staying in their province of study, but decide to relocate due to a lack of work opportunities. In August, Nova Scotia announced the extension its Stay Nova Scotia Program for a second academic year, and as a result continue to work closely with graduating students to help them secure full-time work in the province.
Newfoundland and Labrador recently announced work placement programs that support international students and graduates from recognizes post-secondary institutions find full-time employment in the province.
This year, New Brunswick joined seven other Canadian provinces that provide the privilege of medical coverage. Starting October 10, 2017 eligible international students and their dependents became covered under the province’s publicly-funded health care system making settling the province easier.
Canadian citizenship made easier
One of the biggest news in immigration this year was the coming into effect of amendments in Bill C-6 that allow international students to count a portion of their time studying in Canada towards their Canadian citizenship residency requirement and the reduction of the physical presence requirement to at least three years.
This change enabled many permanent residents who have already built attachment in Canada to join the Canadian family sooner and continue to contribute to Canada’s economy and culture as citizens.
Manitoba announces new immigration option for international graduates
Late November, Manitoba announced a major renewal of its Provincial Nominee Program, which is set to offer a stream strictly dedicated to international graduates in the province.
The new International Education Stream, which is expected to open in April 2018, is designed to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics graduates build their career in Manitoba with a fast-tracked pathway to provincial nomination. The province continues to offer additional routes to permanent immigration for international students through the Skilled Worker in Manitoba Stream.
More international students receiving invitations to apply through Express Entry
New IRCC report shows a 10 per cent increase in the proportion of invitations sent to former international students from the Express Entry pool after changes made to the federal Express Entry system in November 2016.
This demonstrates government efforts to help support international students benefit from Express Entry and secure their future in Canada. For more details on the IRCC report, ready this Canada Study News article.
Looking ahead towards 2018
With so many changes happening later in the year, it is expected that 2018 will continue to be a promising year for international students and graduates looking to Canada as a study destination and a place to settle down and build a new home.
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