Many international students want know and compare the attractions of studying in one country or another. One common issue to compare relates to the question: “what are my opportunities to work after graduation and to stay permanently if that is something I am interested to do?”.
While our worldwide CUAC counsellors certainly emphasize the high quality of academic programs and the overall highly welcoming Canadian society, a big practical highlight is how Canada has the best offerings for international students considering staying permanently in Canada.
For those doing two year programs of study or longer at Designated Learning Institutes (DLIs), there is the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) of three full years. Beyond that there are programs offering special pathways for international students offered by our Canada's federal (national) government. However, there are also many further special programs designed to attract international students to study in the many parts of Canada strongly trying to grow local economies and populations, where so many top jobs are ready and waiting for skilled people.
Why does Canada do this? Why has it for year after year taken the highest percentage of its population as new immigrants (Permanent Residents)? Certainly, part of the answer is it is a country that has a long history of growing its population through immigration. In fact, people born outside Canada currently form about 22% of Canada's population!
(Even by 2010 it was at 21% - see: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/fogs-spg/Facts-can-eng.cfm?Lang=Eng&GK=CAN&GC=01&TOPIC=7)
A second issue is growing Canada’s economy overall - a huge country second and largest in the world, with a population still less than 40 million persons.
But a third increasingly important issue is an aging population and the need for more and more younger people to keep the country dynamic. This is an issue in much of the world and certainly in Japan, South Korea, across Europe and the U.S.
Canada’s programs for growing its population through international students are a model that is getting more and more attention in the United States.
Here is a sample of this viewpoint from a guest essay prepared by Ms. Shikha Dalmia published in The New York Times:
So what’s the cure for America’s dwindling demographic vitality? . . . … America might borrow a page from Canada. Its immigration policy is expressly meant to offset its aging population and low birthrates. Canada’s immigration intake is 0.9 percent of its population — or three times America’s per capita rate. It has admitted immigrants in an ingenious way. In 1998, Canada initiated its Provincial Nominee Program, which gives most provinces a quota, based on their population, of immigrants to sponsor as they see fit (in addition to the immigrants the federal government in Ottawa admits). A province sets criteria based upon its needs for workers, and it can sponsor immigrants from anywhere in the world for permanent residency, provided they pass a basic background and health check. (The federal government has the final say.) The average processing time for this program is about 18 months. In the United States, by contrast, many low-skilled immigrants on work visas have no pathway to green cards, and highly skilled immigrants on H-1B visas wait years — and in the case of Indian and Chinese, up to half a century. Although in principle immigrants sponsored by a Canadian province are free to relocate to another province anytime, in practice the five-year retention rate for many provinces is upwards of 80 percent, according to a 2017 assessment by the Canadian government. That’s because the granular matching between skills and the local labor market ensures employment, which removes the main reason that immigrants leave. The program started small, but between 2021 and 2023, about 30 percent of Canada’s total immigrant admissions are expected to be through it.
So now you can understand better why policy strategists in Canada's national government and the governments of its 10 provinces and 3 territories have long-term strategies to grow by an expanding international student population.
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