Canada is planning to launch a new immigration pathway exclusively for international students, according to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser. Addressing the international students at an interview, he said that Canada was hoping to create pathways which would allow them to stay in the country and make lasting contributions beyond their academic career. He further said that Canada was looking for new ways to encourage international students to stay in Canada even after graduation.
He informed that Canada welcomed more than 300000 international students in the year 2021. This is double the number of students who came to Canada in the previous year and higher than even pre-pandemic levels.
During the interview, the minister also addressed several sticking points that concern the international students. One among those was the need for international students to convince the immigration authorities that they would return to their native place after the studies. Many students are denied an opportunity to study in Canada because they fail to convince the authorities that they would return to their native place after completing the studies. The minister said this problem has solutions and those would be implemented soon.
Last year, Canada adopted several measures to reduce the impact of pandemic on international students. The Post-graduate Work Permit (PGWP) program was made more flexible as part of these efforts. Even those international students who completed 100% of their study programs online were eligible to apply for PGWP and allowed to work in Canada after graduation.
Canada has also taken measures to speed up study permit processing. The Minister said they would be putting additional resources to bring study permit processing times back to service standards this year itself. These including hiring 500 new staff and digitizing the processing of applications.
In his mandate letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had asked him to find pathways to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers and international students. These special measures for international students can be seen as efforts towards this endeavor.
According to IRCC data, Canada issued 621565 study permits in 2021. In 2020, the number was 528190. In 2019, the full year before the pandemic, Canada had issued a record-breaking number of 638280 study permits.
The Postgraduate Work Permit for international students allows them to earn Canadian work experience, which would help them to obtain permanent residence in Canada.
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