Ontario plans to reform higher education for international students

Five ways Ontario plans to reform higher education for international students

Ontario plans to reform higher education for international students

Ontario plans to reform higher education for international students

New provincial strategy targets economic impact of international education and student learning experience

The Government of Ontario has released a new post-secondary education strategy that aims at creating more synergy between the province’s labour market needs and the needs of domestic and international students in the province.

Titled “Educating Global Citizens,” the strategy acknowledges the positive impact international students and study abroad programs are having on economic innovation in the province.

Based on the proposed strategy, which was released in the first week of May, Ontario plans to take the following five steps:

  1. Improve the experience of domestic students by creating opportunities for international education

The Ontario government will provide funding to academic institutions to support the advancement of intercultural understanding between domestic students and international students.

Additionally, government funding and support will help establish scholarships and annual targets dedicated to study abroad programs.

  1. Enhance the international student experience by promoting transparency and developing support services.

Academic institutions will be encouraged to include detailed information on tuition fees as part of offer letters sent to prospective international students.

Ontario also aims to provide more support for services such as international students’ health care and conduct regular surveys to measure the experience of international students in Ontario post-secondary institutions.

  1. Promote balanced international growth by increasing financial support for Ph.D. programs and attracting francophone international students.

Through collaborative efforts with provincial organizations, such as the consortium Advantage Ontario, the government will promote Ontario as a study destination where French-speaking students can learn, work and settle.

  1. Encourage the retention of international students by easing pathways for settlement and work after graduation.

The Ontario government will work with stakeholders and academic institutions on programs to address issues international students may face during their initial entry into the country and/or their integration into the province’s workforce after graduation.

  1. Draw students from a wide range of nationalities through various initiatives to build a healthy and viable post-secondary education system.

Working with the corresponding stakeholders, Ontario will identify and elaborate on best practices that benefit international students across various sectors. For example, the introduction and support of orientation programs dedicated to helping international students once they arrive in the province.

Speaking of the strategy, Ontario’s Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Mitzie Hunter, said, “It’s a plan that responds to the growth of international education in Ontario and the increasing internationalization of our campuses. One that will provide domestic learners with more opportunities to access worldwide experiences, and one that enhances supports and opportunities for international students studying in the province.”

Building on current efforts

In recent years, there has been a recognizable increase in the number of international students choosing Canada.

Ontario is among their top destinations of choice. According to Canadian Bureau for International Education, nearly half of all international students in Canada are studying in Ontario.

In addition to hosting some of the top-performing universities and colleges, Ontario’s Immigrant Nominee Program offers international graduates with enticing options for permanent immigration after graduation, such as the Masters Graduate Stream and Ph.D. Graduate Stream.

Also, international graduates of participating Ontario academic institutions may stay for up to three years in Canada and work for any employer in order to gain skilled work experience and build professional connections in the country.

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EU Ambassadors Approve Electronic Travel Authorisation System for Third Countries

EU Ambassadors Approve Electronic Travel Authorization System for Third Countries

EU Ambassadors Approve Electronic Travel Authorisation System for Third Countries

EU Ambassadors Approve Electronic Travel Authorisation System for Third Countries

The European Parliament representatives and the European Council Presidency have reached an agreement on the proposal for the establishment of a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS). According to a press release published today on the official website of the European Council the agreement has been confirmed by the EU ambassadors.

As stated in this release, the Bulgarian Minister of Interior, Valentin Radev, assessed that this agreement is just another very important step in the protection of the external borders of the European Union.

“By knowing who is coming to the EU before they even arrive at the border, we will be better able to stop those who may pose a threat to our citizens,” Radev is quoted to have said.

ETIAS

ETIAS, which acronym stands for the European Travel Information and Authorization System, is a visa waiver pre-screening program proposed to be created by the European Union for visitors wishing to enter this area. The main purpose of the establishment of such system is protection and strengthening of the EU external borders.

The European Council proposed the establishment of this program on June 2017, after a few years during which the European Union countries faced continuous terrorist attacks and immigration flows among others. The program is foreseen to start its implementation on January 2020.

It is a system very similar to the United States Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), while many other countries have established similar schemes.

Currently, the nationals of 62 non-Schengen area countries are allowed to enter the EU without a visa, for up to 90 days within a 180 day period.

Next Steps

The next step to be taken in this regard, after the agreement has been confirmed by the EU ambassadors on behalf of the Council, the regulations will be submitted to the European Parliament. If the regulation gathers the necessary votes at first reading, then it will be passed to the Council for adoption.

ETIAS in a post-Brexit UK

After the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in March 2019, and the ETIAS starts its implementation in 2020, Britons will most probably fall under the category of the countries the nationals of which will have to obtain an ETIAS before getting permission to enter any of the European Union member states.

Though it has been unclear how traveling of UK nationals to the EU will be organized in a post-Brexit Europe, few of the EU nationals have claimed that Britain will automatically fall under the category of third world countries, once it finally leaves the EU, which means the UK will fall under the ETIAS Europe Form. Whether this system will be applied to the UK or not, will only be known after it definitely leaves Europe, or about that time.

European Travel Information and Authorisation System

There are many countries who are not in the European Union (EU) whose citizens can enter the EU Schengen Zone without needing a visa. Specifically, there are currently 62 countries who are not in the EU but are visa-free.

Citizens of these countries are allowed to go into countries in the Schengen Zone for business or travel purposes for up to 90 days. During these 90 days, these visitors are not allowed to work or study but can engage in business and tourism activities.

In addition, recent security concerns with terrorism and the migrant crisis have called for a better management of who is entering EU borders. The EU has continuously declared its goal of making travelling within its borders a more secure experience.

To reduce procedures and wait times, as well as address the security concerns, the European Commission (EC) has come up with a solution – ETIAS.

This article will contain all the information you need regarding this new system and whether you qualify for it.

What is ETIAS?

ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorization System. It is a completely electronic system which allows and keeps track of visitors from countries who do not need a visa to enter the Schengen Zone. In a way, it resembles the U.S Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), which serves a similar purpose. The legal procedures to pass the ETIAS have started in 2016, and the system is expected to be in place by 2020.

The ETIAS will undergo a detailed security check of each applicant to determine whether they can be allowed to enter any Schengen Zone country. Since citizens of countries who do not need a visa for travel purposes of up to 90 days in the EU do not need to go through a long process of applying for the visa, the ETIAS will make sure that these people are not a security threat. This travel authorization system will gather, keep track of, and update necessary information regarding visitors to determine whether it is safe for them to enter Schengen countries.

The ETIAS, besides being used for business and tourist purposes, will also allow people to visit the Schengen countries for medical and transit reasons. In addition, it will be mandatory for all countries who are Schengen visa-free.

Why ETIAS Authorization?

In his 2016 State of the Union Address, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has said the following:

The main reason for the approval of the ETIAS authorization is security. With the increased risk of travelers worldwide, the EU wants to ensure safe travels in its countries. The ETIAS will decrease security concerns substantially through its information and data gathering systems. What this means, is that the ETIAS will detect if a person is a threat in any way to the security of Schengen countries. This will lead to the person being denied entry and avoiding the threat from being present inside EU borders. It will basically deal with a problem before it is even there.

However, besides making travelling more secure, the ETIAS authorization will also assist the EU countries and all travelers in the following ways:

  • Reduce procedures and application times
  • Improve the management of EU country borders
  • Assist in detecting and decreasing crime and terrorism
  • Impede irregular migration
  • Reinforce the visa liberalization policy of the EU
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New Report says raising Canada’s Immigration Rate

New report calls for raising Canada’s immigration rate

New report calls for raising Canada’s immigration rate

New report calls for raising Canada’s immigration rate

Raising admissions to 415,000 by 2030 would off-set aging population and spur economy, Conference Board of Canada says

Increasing Canada’s immigration rate to one percent of its total population beginning in 2030 would help offset the challenges caused by an aging population and contribute to economic growth, a new report by the Conference Board of Canada argues.

The increase would represent 415,000 new admissions to Canada, whose population would be pushing 42 million people in 2030.

“Based on current demographic trends, increasing the immigration rate to one percent by the early 2030s will allow Canada to replicate its population growth rate of recent decades (one percent) and support modest labour market and economic growth over the long term,” say the report’s authors, Kareem El-Assal and Daniel Fields of the Conference Board’s National Immigration Centre.

Last November, Canada’s federal government announced a new multi-year immigration levels plan that will see admissions ramp up to 340,000 across all immigration programs by 2020 — an immigration rate of 0.9 percent. The admissions target for 2018 is set at 310,000, or a rate of 0.84 percent.

Report looks at no immigration vs 1%

The new report echoes calls by the Government of Canada, provincial governments, economists and business leaders across the country for increased immigration to counter labour shortages produced by Canada’s aging population.

The Conference Board report makes the case for this increase to one percent by contrasting it with a fiscal snapshot of Canada in the 2030s if all immigration to the country was stopped — an “implausible” scenario, the authors acknowledge, but one that puts their modest raise into perspective.

Without immigration, Canada’s labour force would shrink, slowing the estimated average annual real GDP growth rate to 1.3 percent by 2040 and more than likely forcing tax rates to increase as the number of taxpayers declined.

Fewer taxpayers could also affect living standards and threaten the ability of Canada and its provinces to cover the cost of vital public services for aging Canadians, notably health care.

Immigration already plays a vital economic role in Canada, accounting for almost all labour force growth and nearly three-quarters of its annual population growth, the report notes. The Conference Board of Canada has already projected that immigration will account for 100 percent of Canada’s annual population growth by 2034, when natural population increase (births minus deaths) is expected to drop below zero.

The authors estimate that an immigration rate of one percent by 2030 will contribute one-third of Canada’s projected average annual real GDP growth rate of 1.9 percent that year.

Government action required

The report warns, however, that there is a potential downside to such an increase if Canada does not take corresponding steps to improve the labour market outcomes of immigrants.

To address this issue, it offers three recommendations for Canadian policymakers:

Improve labour market integration so immigrants can better contribute to Canada’s economic and fiscal fortunes.

Identify ways to grow Canada’s economy so Canadian-born and immigrant workers alike can access good job opportunities and the necessities that contribute to Canada’s high living standards, including social services like education, healthcare, affordable housing.

Ensure public support for immigration through strong border management, maintaining the integrity of Canada’s immigration and temporary resident programs, and promoting “safe spaces for open debate on the merits and drawbacks of immigration.”

Improving the outcomes of newcomers arriving through Family Class sponsorships by removing labour market barriers is also critical, the authors argue.

“Low earnings and the prevalence of chronic low income among the family class are issues of concern that need to be addressed to help boost the living standards of immigrant families, and to help Canada benefit from their human capital in the labour market as it becomes more dependent on immigrant support for its economic growth,” they write.

Also required is a fundamental shift in the way the outcomes of family class immigrants are assessed, one that would put the focus on household incomes instead of individual income.

Many newcomers who are sponsored through the family class, including parents and grandparents, contribute to the household income and provide child care, which allows a bread winner to work longer hours.

“This is a key consideration as Canada continues to evaluate the distribution of its immigrant composition in the years and decades to come,” the authors write. “While Canada has prioritized economic class admissions since the mid-1990s, family class admissions should also be viewed as part of economic development policy.

“Immigrant families are faring well in relation to Canadian-born families in important economic metrics such as household income and homeownership. Immigrant families bring other benefits as well, such as boosting immigrant retention rates, important to population growth in Atlantic Canada, and to all other provinces as well.”

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