In recent months, the Government of Canada has made it clear that our Country’s future prosperity is dependent on immigration. The combination of baby boomers beginning to exit the labour market, declining birth rates and growing demand for labour, has led to a national consensus that immigration is the answer to Canada’s economic growth equation. While various types of immigrants will be needed, Canada is relying on its educational institutions to attract top international talent.
Advantages of international students range from encouraging innovation, increasing a global awareness among Canadians and of course, helping alleviate labour shortages. As it stands, Canada seems to be trailing behind the United States, Britain and Australia in its attempts to entice international students, as only 4% opt to study in Canada.
This track record has not gone unnoticed by the federal government, which has set up a task force, led by the president of the University of Western Ontario, to address Canada’s need for international students. In a recent report issued by the task force, recommendations were offered to help ameliorate Canada’s efforts in enrolling international students. These recommendations included the creation of a Council on International Education and Research (CIER) which would offer policy advice to various ministers, target promotional efforts on select international markets and improving the speed and efficiency of Canadian student visa processing, among some eleven others. The report in its entirety can be found here.
In exchange for the multitude of benefits brought to Canada, international students on study permits are rewarded with many opportunities in Canada, both during and after their studies. Beginning with opportunities to work during their studies, upon graduation international students are also eligible for Canadian permanent residency through several different Canadian immigration programs, including provincial nomination programs, the Canadian experience class and the Federal Skilled Worker program.