The Canada Visa Study Hub: A New Online Portal for International Students and Graduates in Canada
It is estimated that more than 350,000 international students are currently studying in Canada, and this number is on the rise. Many universities and colleges are reporting significant increases in applications from potential international students for 2017. Studying in Canada can open doors to opportunities, not only for working after graduation but also for immigrating permanently. Individuals around the world are eager to take advantage of these opportunities.
Attorney David Cohen has more than 35 years of experience in Canadian immigration law. Now, he is applying this experience to a new initiative to assist international students through the entire journey of studying in Canada and the pathway to permanent residence. The newly launched Canada Visa Study Hub is an online portal that provides international students and graduates with the means to maximise the potential of their time in Canada.
WES Global Talent Bridge sat down with Attorney Cohen to discuss this new resource.
What is the Study Hub?
The Canada Visa Study Hub is an online portal for international students in Canada, as well as recent graduates working on a post-graduation work permit. The Study Hub not only provides information on studying in Canada, and working during and after studies, but also a customised plan for temporary and permanent immigration. Many international students in Canada aim to work after graduation or immigrate permanently, and the Study Hub is all about giving students the best possible opportunity for realising that goal.
So the Study Hub is for international students and graduates who are aiming to stay in Canada?
Not exclusively. We’ve designed the Study Hub to cater to all international students and post-graduate workers in Canada. Although many international students do plan to stay in Canada after graduation, many others make plans to return to their home countries, or move elsewhere in the world. There are still many ways the Canada Visa Study Hub can help these students during their time in Canada, and beyond. For example, there are career development resources to help students who are working during and after their studies and customized updates on permit status and renewal.
Tell us more about the features of the Study Hub.
The current offering includes a wide range of tools and resources, such as personalised notifications, a status tracker, customisation news updates, a job search tool, and more. These tools can be used to create a tailored plan for immigrating to Canada permanently, based on each member’s own situation.
There’s even a Scholarship Contest, offered exclusively to Study Hub members, in which every month one lucky member can win $2,500.
All these features are offered free of charge so that international students can take control of their future in Canada. We recognize that each international student in Canada is unique, with different backgrounds and objectives. With this in mind, I envision the Study Hub as a means for students to receive information that is pertinent to them individually. We’re continually looking for ways to improve the offerings of the Study Hub and plan to implement various new features as our community develops.
That sounds very helpful for international students here. What made you want to create the Study Hub program?
My goal in creating the Study Hub is to demystify the immigration process for international students. Moving to a new country can be equally challenging and inspiring—for international students, in particular, there are many exciting new opportunities that studying in Canada can bring, but there are also challenges. Keeping track of permits and staying in compliance, all while maintaining good grades and settling into a new country—it’s a lot to take on. We hope that the Study Hub can simplify the bureaucratic side of things so that international students can have some peace of mind and focus on what’s important: getting the most out of their studies in Canada and preparing for their future.
What makes Canada a great place to study for international students?
Where do I begin? World-class institutions and innovative study programs, a welcoming attitude toward newcomers, opportunities to work while studying, and immigrate after graduation—the list goes on. In fact, Canada may be unique in its successful combination of comparatively affordable tuition and living expenses, bilingual education system, and options for immigration after graduation. Add to that a government that supports higher education and backs its support with generous funding, and Canada starts to look like a pretty attractive option.
Most international students can work for any employer during their studies. Spouses and common-law partners can accompany an international student and get an open work permit themselves. Children of international students can attend school—at the primary and secondary levels—for free. Canada is at the forefront of research and development in many sectors, including hot-button issues like start-up technology, environmental energy, aviation, engineering, mining, to name but a few.
Three Canadian cities—Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver—were recently named among the best cities globally for student life, with Montreal taking first place. You don’t find that combination of factors, all of which are extremely important to those people considering studying abroad, in many countries. You could say Canada’s got the whole package!
What do you hope to achieve through the Study Hub?
My ultimate goal is to create a community of bright, talented individuals who are dedicated to getting the most out of their time in Canada. International students and graduates are uniquely talented—they’ve left their comfort zone to settle in a new country, a new culture. Often, they speak more than one language, and they’ve proven their academic prowess. Many of these individuals can pursue immigration and work options after graduation without the assistance of a lawyer. But sometimes, things may not go as expected. We want to be that safety net if international students and graduates encounter issues they can’t navigate on their own. We hope that the Study Hub will be their first resource for getting the information they need when they need it.
How can international students learn more about immigrating to Canada after studying?
The Study Hub offers a step-by-step outline of the processes involved to make the transition to permanent resident status. Our frequent updates inform members when immigration programs change or open, and we regularly publish the latest news on immigration matters. I would encourage any international student or post-graduate worker who is considering immigrating to Canada to remain proactive and research the options open to them. Many immigration programs can change, open, and close at short notice, and those who are best prepared have the best chances of success. I hope that the resources within the Study Hub can help these students seize their opportunity when it comes along.
International students and recent graduates on a Post-Graduation Work can join the Study Hub to access these features, and enter the Canada Visa Scholarship Contest for a chance to win $2,500.