International students waylaid by COVID-19 will get second chance at Canadian work experience

Makes sense:

International students who have failed to secure coveted Canadian job experience due to the pandemic will be given another shot at meeting a necessary requirement for permanent residence, says Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

On Friday, Ottawa will launch a temporary policy to allow international students with an expired or expiring post-graduate work permit to apply for a new permit that will be valid for 18 months.

International students who graduate from a designated Canadian post-secondary college or university are eligible for a work permit that lasts between one and three years, depending on the duration of their academic programs.

Canadian education credentials and work experience have become increasingly crucial for foreign nationals looking to apply for permanent residence in Canada, which rewards those qualifications with bonus points in the immigrant-selection process.

In 2019, more than 58,000 international students who graduated from a Canadian institution successfully applied to immigrate permanently.

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2019 and 2020 cohort was left to confront a grim job market and many international graduates were let go from their employment.

Hence, they found themselves unable to fulfil their Canadian work experience requirement and faced the prospect of having to leave Canada in spite of their investments of money and time.

The tuition fees of international students are generally three to four times above what domestic students pay. The students contribute more than $21 billion annually to the Canadian economy and international education has become a default pathway for immigration to Canada.

“This new policy means that young students from abroad who have studied here, can stay and find work, while ensuring that Canada meets the urgent needs of our economy for today and tomorrow,” Mendicino told the Star in a statement.

“Our message to international students and graduates is simple: We don’t just want you to study here, we want you to stay here.”

In October, Ottawa announced it would welcome 401,000 new immigrants in 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023 — after a disappointing 2020 that saw the processing of immigration applications stalled by the pandemic, with overseas visa posts locked down and immigration officers operating from home in a reduced capacity.

Preliminary data has shown that only 60 per cent or some 200,000 of the 340,000 newcomers targeted for 2020 were expected to have made it to Canada by the end of last year.

Mendicino said attracting skilled immigrants is a central part of Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery and the new post-graduate work permit policy will help more graduates fill pressing needs in sectors such as health care and technology.

“Whether as nurses on the pandemic’s front lines, or as founders of some of the most promising start-ups, international students are giving back to communities across Canada as we continue the fight against the pandemic,” Mendicino said.

“Their status may be temporary, but the contributions of international students are lasting.”

Source: International students waylaid by COVID-19 will get second chance at Canadian work experience

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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