New Canadian Immigration Laws May Hurt Foreign Students Studying In Canada

canadian study visaConcern is growing among foreign students studying in Canada that recent changes to Canada’s immigration laws may make it more difficult for them to obtain permanent residency in the country.

New Canadian immigration laws that took effect on January 1st mean that foreign students who have obtained work experience in Canada will no longer be given special consideration when applying for permanent residency. As a result, concern is growing among both students and universities that one of the most attractive reasons for international students to study in Canada no longer exists—and that fact may negatively impact the number of foreign students choosing to study in Canada.

In 2014, there was an estimated 300,000 foreign students studying in Canadian universities.

Prior to the changes to the country’s immigration law, foreign students in Canada with work experience were in a separate classification from other immigrants applying for permanent residency.  However, under the new law—titled Express Entry—foreign students will be added to the general ‘pool’ of skilled foreign workers seeking to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

Under the Express Entry program, the federal government claims that the foreign workers accepted into Canada will be better suited for the current employment openings available within the country. Points are awarded for things such as an applicant’s education, age and a positive Labor Market Impact Assessment, which is seen as proof that no Canadian is available to fill that position.

Concerns are being raised that foreign students in Canada will not be selected under the new point system as it will be difficult for someone just graduating to prove that he or she should be selected.

With a federal election almost certain to take place this year, the governing Conservative Party has made immigration a top priority; the new Express Entry program was part of a much broader revision of Canada’s immigration laws in 2014 that tightened many immigration rules, and is seen by many as being the Conservative’s attempt to strengthen the party’s political image heading into this year’s election.

Toronto-based immigration lawyer Robin Seligman said the new Express Entry system will prove to be “devastating to international students that relied on policies that were put into place by this government to help post-graduate international students transition to permanent residence.”

Many foreign students in Canada—who recently graduated—attempted to beat the new law by submitting their permanent residency applications last fall, prior to the beginning of the Express Entry system. However, thousands of foreign students received notices in January from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) informing them that the Canadian Experience Class program for which they were applying had reached its capacity back in October.

Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has said the government expects the Express Entry program to meet the country’s employment needs, but that he remains open to making some revisions to ensure that the new immigration rules brought in last year address Canada’s changing employment market.

New limits placed on Canadian universities’ ability to offer immigration advice

Canada student visa

Recent legislative changes mean that Canada’s universities will now be limited in the amount of advice they can offer to international students and faculty members.

Changes to Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) places limits on third parties’ abilities to provide—or even offer—advice or representation at all stages of the immigration application, unless they are certified to do so. In the case of international students and faculty at Canada’s universities, the restricted ‘third parties’ would be the universities themselves.

Many major universities across Canada have provided both direction, and assistance, to international students and faculty in their immigration to Canada. However, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has confirmed that the new IRPA regulations means that university employees are prohibited from offering immigration advice to both international faculty and students.

The hiring of academic faculty from abroad is considered by the government of Canada to be a form of hiring ‘temporary foreign workers’.

In the case of academia, Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)—working with the country’s universities—has established special criteria to assist Canadian universities in their recruitment efforts of foreign academics; still, certain academic foreign workers are exempt from government requirements, including academic consultants and examiners, graduate assistants, and self-funded researchers.

In all other cases, before academic immigrant workers can be hired, the ESDC reviews the wages offered by universities to foreign academics and compares them to those offered Canadian academics under existing collective bargaining agreements.

The usual hiring procedure of foreign workers for academia typically includes all the other steps required in hiring temporary foreign workers, including advertising vacant positions, an attempt to first hire Canadian citizens, and receipt of a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) in pursuit of final approval by CIC of a temporary work permit.

While most major Canadian universities can still offer publicly available immigration information for their international students and faculty, the new IRPA rules mean that previously available specific case advice cannot be provided.

Working for International Students

International studentsInternational students in Canada are not automatically granted a right to work, rather they must apply for student work permits from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Permanent Residents and citizens of Canada are, on the other hand, absolutely allowed to study and work at the same time at any school that they can get accepted into.

Depending on what kind of work a student will be doing they may have to file for a different kind of work permit. Below are the three general work permit categories for international students.

On-Campus Work

Working on-campus as a student may not require a separate work permit as long as the student fulfills these requirements:

  • Student must be in a full-time program
  • Student must have a valid study permit
  • Student must be enrolled in an accepted post-secondary school that grants degrees.

With those requirements met, international students may work on-campus.

Off-Campus Work

To be able to work off-campus as an international student, the applicant must be able to meet the above qualifications for on-campus work and apply for a work permit with the CIC.

A work permit allows international students to work 20 hours a week when school is in session and 40 hours a week during breaks.

International students are expected to find their own employment and they must not start work until they have their work permit.

Student advisors at schools will be able to help international students apply for work permits.

Interning

Some academic programs have internships as a part of coursework and these programs can be very helpful for one’s career.

However, international students must obtain work permits and student visas in order to do an internship.

Students looking to intern in Canada should contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada to get a better idea of how to apply.

Canada Student Visas and U15

One of the most popular visas that Citizenship and Immigration Canada grants during the year is the Student Visa.

This is because Canada is very agreeable for higher education students and university students.

Canada has quite a few exceedingly well developed universities and a group of schools called the U15. The U15 is a list of 15 research universities in Canada which have very good reputations.

Obtaining a Student VisaStudent visa

International students who wish to study in Canada must first get student visas before they enter the country.

Student visas are somewhat easy to get after the student has received an acceptance letter from a Canadian school. Students then apply with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a visa.

These visas can be repeatedly granted to students for their entire academic careers, provided they stay on track and show that they are achieving their educational goals.

Many students who study at Canadian schools develop something of an attachment to the country during the course of their studies and unlike some other countries Canada allows them to apply for permanent residency at the end of their studies without leaving the country.

The Canadian Experience Class of immigration allows these students to start working in their field in Canada after their graduation.

Language Learning in Canada

Canada is a bilingual country, meaning that there are two primary languages spoken throughout the country. While it is not necessary for a student to come to Canada being completely fluent in either language, it would prove to be helpful to be familiar with them.

During the course of their studies, students will build on their knowledge of English or French (they are sometimes encouraged to learn both, especially in Quebec).

The learning process involved in becoming familiar with the national languages of Canada will not exclusively come from direct study at the university, although classes in English or French may be required.

Rather, many people learn the language simply from exposure to it while they experience the culture of Canada. Many language teachers believe that this technique (called immersive learning) is the best way to learn new languages because it provides direct incentive.

In an increasingly global economy, familiarity and even mastery of multiple languages is an invaluable skill and increases a student’s value in the work force. Being able to say that one knows a few different languages on one’s resume or curriculum vitae makes one very attractive to potential employers.

The U15

The U15 is a list of the 15 leading research universities in Canada. These schools provide a lot of information and research that helps to inform policy and innovation all over the world.

These universities were established as early as 1663 (Universite Laval in Quebec) and as late as 1966 (University of Calgary) and are located in 7 of Canada’s provinces.

The U15 universities are:

  • The University of Alberta
  • The University of British Columbia
  • The University of Calgary
  • Dalhousie University
  • Universite Laval
  • University of Manitoba
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • Universite de Montreal
  • University of Ottawa
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Western Ontario

Study in Canada

How to Study in Canada

Canada’s immigration system, like many other countries has a system of visas designed to grant access to the country based on purpose.

In order to work in Canada one has to get a work permit. If someone wants to go to school in Canada, they have to get a student visa.

Regardless of what level of education a student may be they will still have to get a study permit. The exception to this is if they are in Canada under a parent’s visa or if they have Permanent Residency.Canada Study Permit

Getting a study permit can be somewhat involved and it is very important to file the forms correctly.

Because schools often operate on rigid schedules, it is important to obtain one’s study permit well in advance of the start of school.

It would be very inconvenient to have one’s visa delayed and miss out on the first weeks of school.

Why Study in Canada?

Canada is a safe and beautiful country, full of fantastic and wonderful landscapes. Among these idyllic scenes are some of the best schools in the world.

Universities in Canada are particularly well-known and regarded as being wonderful research institutions where a great deal of good work is done.

Canada believes in the poser of education as well and because of that they do lot to help their students get through school (in the form of scholarships and such) and to be placed in employment after their graduation.

While you research going to Canada for school, you may want to arrange a trip to Canada to see these schools on a tourist visa.

After Graduation

Immigrants who have graduated from a Canadian university have the opportunity to get Permanent Residency with the Canadian Experience Class program.

Permanent Residency is an immigration status that allows a person to live and work in Canada indefinitely and will eventually lead to their qualification for citizenship.

CIC Study Permit Extension

Temporary residents with student visas are allowed to renew their student permits before they expire in order to extend their course of study. By extending one’s visa, one is not allowed to stay in Canada permanently.

Immigrants who wish to stay in Canada permanently should look into one of the many immigration programs offered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, for example, the Canadian Experience Class program.

Students have the choice to either apply online or on paper for their new student visa status, but either way it is important to start the process more than 30 days before the visa expires. The expiry date is included in the study permit itself. Student Permit

If you have already lost your student status you can renew this status within 90 days of the expiry date through a slightly different process. However, you will be allowed to stay in Canada as this application is processed.

Most of the study permit extension paperwork is self-explanatory and included online at Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website.

Students who wish to work as well as study in Canada will have to file for a work permit. This will be particularly relevant application for those who wish to eventually immigrate as a Canadian Experience Class permanent resident.

Permanent Residency is an immigration status in Canada that allows immigrants to live, work, study and travel throughout the country at will and indefinitely. After a few years of permanent residency, immigrants have the chance to become full citizens.

CIC News Update February 27, 2013

Immigration Direct’s blog will occasionally cover Citizenship and Immigration Canada news to keep our customers informed and knowledgeable regarding their own immigration plans.

Record Breaking Number of Visas to Indians

Canada appears to be a very popular destination for globe-trotting Indians according to new statistics released by the Canadian government.

This is of course due to the increased ease with which international citizens can apply for Canadian visas. Citizenship and Immigration Canada intend to make the country appealing to foreign visitors and to potential immigrants. Visitor to Canada

“Our government is working with industry to capitalize on this growth, to welcome even more Indian travellers and to create jobs and growth in Canada, while strengthening our relationship with our Indian visitors,” Minister of State Maxime Bernier said in a press release.

More than 130,000 visas of all different types were issued to Indians in 2012.

Immigration at Highest Level Yet

Canada’s historic rate of immigration has always been high, and nothing is different about 2012. This year over a quarter of a million immigrants were welcomed to Canada as Permanent Residents.

This is part of the government’s conscious decision to increase immigration numbers as of the past ten years.

“Immigration is a key part of the government’s plan to grow our economy, spur job creation , and ensure long-term prosperity for all Canadians,” Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said in a Citizenship and Immigration Canada News Release.

Record Number of Foreign Students

Over 100,000 international students were granted student visas to Canada in 2012.

As part of the government’s overall plan to improve the immigration system, more students are being encouraged to come to Canada to study at one of their many fine universities.

Student Visa Legislation News

It is widely agreed upon that foreign students and workers are integral to a well-functioning and multicultural society and government. This is why Minister Kenney of Citizenship and Immigration Canada is introducing new legislation regarding the Canadian study permit.

These new regulations would make it so that study visas would only be given to organizations that are approved by the province in which it resides. Considering that the province or territory which houses the organization is more likely to know whether or not it is fraudulent, it makes sense to place this responsibility on that government.

“There are too many stories of international students who pay a lot of money and leave their families back home to study in Canada, only to find out they have been misled,” Minister Kenney said in a recent press release.

Student Visa to Canada

This new legislation would also track students to make sure that they are in fact studying in Canada as opposed to simply immigrating on a study visa.

Canada is already a highly regarded country for immigration, and particularly student visas. Canadian immigration law is specifically designed to help students immigrate.

The path that the government would prefer most to take is for them to start with student visas where they will learn skills, languages and other culturally relevant things important in Canada.

Then they would move into the Skilled Worker Program which allows them to work in the field that they studied as a student in a Canadian school and provides them with Permanent Residency. After a period of about three years as a Permanent Resident they can apply to become official citizens of Canada.

The new study visas would also allow students to work part-time off-campus. Most governments only allow foreign students to work on-campus, so this new provision may prove to be very helpful.

“Canadian education and their language skills are important factors for success,” Minister Kenney says of foreign students pursuing full immigration.

Exceptions to Visa Requirements

There are a number of countries and areas that through treaties and other governmental agreements do not need to obtain a visa in order to temporarily visit Canada. This is important to know about if you are looking to get a study permit in Canada. People who study in Canada have the option at the end of their course of study to become a Canadian Permanent Resident which will allow them to live and work in Canada.

  • Citizens from the Countries and regions listed below do not need visas in order to visit Canada:

Andorra

Estonia

Latvia (Republic of)

St. Kitts and Nevis

Antigua and Barbuda

Finland

Lithuania

San Marino

Australia

France

Liechtenstein

Singapore

Austria

Germany

Luxembourg

Slovakia

Bahamas

Greece

Malta

Solomon Islands

Barbados

Hungary

Monaco

Spain

Belgium

Iceland

Netherlands

Sweden

Brunei

Ireland

New Zealand

Slovenia

Croatia

Israel *

Norway

Switzerland

Cyprus

Italy

Papua New Guinea

United States

Denmark

Japan

Poland

Western Samoa

Korea (Republic of)

Portugal

*(National Passport holders only)

  • Citizens of the below territories who can prove their citizenship may enter Canada without a visa.

Anguilla

 Cayman Islands

 Montserrat

Turks Islands

 Bermuda

 Falkland Islands

 Pitcairn

Caicos Islands

 British Virgin Islands

 Gibraltar

 St. Helena

 
  • Permanent residents of the United States who can prove their permanent resident status (either with their green card or other documentation) may enter Canada without a visa.
  • British citizens of all varieties and who are re-admissible to Britain may enter Canada without a visa.
  • People born, naturalized or registered in Hong Kong, with an overseas British passport issued by the U.K. may enter Canada without a visa.
  • British subjects with a right of abode and who hold a British passport may enter Canada without a visa.
  • A Special Administrative Region passport from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China may visit Canada without a visa.
  • Passports or travel documents from the Vatican will allow people to visit Canada without a visa.
  • A passport from the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a personal identification number will let you visit Canada without a visa.

Do I Need a Visa to Visit Canada?

The upcoming year, 2013, is going to be a big year for Canadian Experience Class Permanent Residency applicants and the trend looks like it will continue. If you want to get Permanent Residency through the CEC you’ll need to attend a Canadian school. During the application process you will have to find out whether or not you will need to obtain a visa in order to enter Canada.

Afghanistan

Guinea

Pakistan

Albania

Guinea-Bissau

Palau

Algeria

Guyana

Palestine

Angola

Haiti

Panama

Argentina

Honduras

Paraguay

Armenia

India

Peru

Azerbaijan

Indonesia

Philippines

Bahrain

Iran

Poland *

Bangladesh

Iraq

Qatar

Belarus

Israel **

Romania

Belize

Ivory Coast

Russia

Benin

Jamaica

Rwanda

Bhutan

Jordan

St. Lucia

Bolivia

Kazakhstan

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Bosnia-Herzegovina

Kenya

Sao Tomé e Principe

Botswana

Kiribati

Saudi Arabia

Brazil

Korea, North

Senegal

Bulgaria

Kosovo

Serbia

Burkina Faso

Kuwait

Seychelles

Burundi

Kyrgyzstan

Sierra Leone

Cambodia

Laos

Somalia

Republic of Cameroon

Lebanon

South Africa

Cape Verde

Lesotho

South Sudan

Central African Republic

Liberia

Sri Lanka

Chad

Libya

Sudan

Chile

Lithuania *

Surinam

China

Macao S.A.R.

Swaziland

Colombia

Macedonia

Syria

Comoros

Madagascar

Taiwan

Congo, Democratic

Malawi

Tajikistan

Republic of the Congo

Malaysia

Tanzania

Costa Rica

Maldives

Thailand

Cuba

Mali

Togo

Czech Republic

Marshall Islands

Tonga

Djibouti

Mauritania

Trinidad and Tobago

Dominica

Mauritius

Tunisia

Dominican Republic

Mexico

Turkey

East Timor

Micronesia

Turkmenistan

Ecuador

Moldova

Tuvalu

Egypt

Mongolia

Uganda

El Salvador

Montenegro

Ukraine

Equatorial Guinea

Morocco

United Arab Emirates

Eritrea

Mozambique

Uruguay

Ethiopia

Myanmar

Uzbekistan

Fiji

Namibia

Vanuatu

Gabon

Nauru

Venezuela

Gambia

Nepal

Vietnam

Georgia

Nicaragua

Yemen

Ghana

Niger

Zambia

Grenada

Nigeria

Zimbabwe

Guatemala

Oman

*Holders of non-biometric passports must obtain Canadian visas.

**Israeli citizens with a valid Travel Document must obtain Canadian Visas. No need for a visa with a valid Israeli passport.

***Unless you have a valid Taiwanese passport issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have a personal identification number.

There are a number of exceptions to these requirements which will be the topic of tomorrow’s blog.