Canada’s Immigration Minister telling ‘We want more international students to stay’

Canada’s Immigration Minister Hussen telling ‘We want more international students to stay’

Canada’s Immigration Minister Hussen telling ‘We want more international students to stay’

Canada’s Immigration Minister Hussen telling ‘We want more international students to stay’

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, says the Government of Canada wants international students to become permanent residents in Canada.

Hussen told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration that helping international students stay in Canada is a key facet of Canada’s new multi-year immigration levels plan for 2018-2020.

“Part of our push for multi-year planning is to have more space for international students and other skilled individuals who would like to live in Canada,” Hussen said.

Deputy Immigration Minister Marta Morgan told the committee that there are currently a number of pathways for students to become permanent residents either by applying through the federal Express Entry selection system or by taking advantage of Provincial Nominee Programs, which are designed to meet labour market needs.

Committee member Randeep Sarai, a Liberal Member of Parliament from Surrey, British Columbia, asked Hussen to clarify whether the government’s multi-year immigration levels plan accounted for the prospective increase the number of international students applying for permanent residence.

The minister confirmed that such an increase was factored into the plan’s admission targets for the next three years.

International students an Express Entry priority

The committee also considered the government’s reasons for its November 2016 changes to the Express Entry system’s Comprehensive Ranking System that reduced the number of points it awards for a job offer from 600 to between 50 and 200 points.

At the same time, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada introduced new points for Canadian study experience.

Level of education Additional CRS points
One- or two-year post-secondary program 15
Post-secondary program of three years or more, or Master’s, Doctoral, or eligible entry-to-practice professional degree 30

One of the reasons offered for these changes was the fact 600 points for a job offer disadvantaged international students despite their typically higher scores in so-called human capital factors like age, education and language proficiency.

A recent IRCC report showed that the change to job offer points is putting greater emphasis on such factors, which it said are “strongly correlated to higher earning potential.”

The study also revealed that the proportion of former international students invited to apply for permanent residence from the Express Entry pool increased by 10 percent in the first six months after it introduced the additional Canadian study experience points.

Provincial Nominee Programs offer unique international graduate streams

Canada’s provinces also continue to tailor their programs to better serve recent international graduates and help facilitate their pathway to permanent immigration.

In prime study destination provinces, such as Ontario and British Columbia, there are provincial programs that offer unique options for international graduates that do not require a job offer to apply, such as Ontario’s Masters and Ph.D. Graduate Streams and BC’s Express Entry: International Post-Graduate category.

Also, Canada’s Atlantic Provinces offer pathways to permanent settlement for international students. The regional Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, introduced last year, also offers advantages to graduates and employers alike.

As of July 2017, the federal government reported that 600 Atlantic employers had expressed interest in the program.

In its multi-year immigration levels plan, the Canadian government will double the annual allocation for the AIPP every year from 2018 to 2020.

Canadian Citizenship has also been made more accessible to international students through changes that now allow former students to count the time spent in Canada on a temporary visa, such as a study permit.

All evidence points to the Canadian government’s continued support of pathways to permanent immigration for talented and valuable graduates from around the world.

Posted in Canada, Canada PNP, Immigration, Study Abroad, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Government action on rule that rejects immigrants on medical grounds

Government action on rule that rejects immigrants on medical grounds expected in April

Government action on rule that rejects immigrants on medical grounds expected in April

Government action on rule that rejects immigrants on medical grounds expected in April

Up to 1,000 applications, a year affected by controversial ‘excessive demand’ policy

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, says his department’s action plan for addressing a controversial policy that refuses immigrants deemed likely to cause an “excessive demand” on the country’s health-care system will be released in April.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration has recommended abolishing the “excessive demand” rules in Section 38 1(C) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which it says is at odds with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

That recommendation was part of a standing committee report on medical inadmissibility rules for immigrants that were tabled on December 12. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada had 120 days to issue its response.

In an appearance before that committee yesterday, Hussen reiterated his belief that the rules need to change.

“I have been very clear that this policy is out of step with Canadian values on accommodating people with disabilities,” Hussen said.

The minister promised that his department will respond to the committee’s recommendations by April 12.

Delay criticized

That answer didn’t satisfy committee member Jenny Kwan, who asked Hussen why it’s taking Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) so long to take action.

“The minister has been studying this issue since 2016, people’s lives are on hold because of that,” Kwan said.

To emphasize her point, Kwan cited recent examples of permanent residence applications that had been turned down because of the rule and said there are about 1,000 such cases across Canada.

“Why can’t we have a policy change that will affect the lives of these individuals now,” Kwan asked.

Hussen contended that IRCC has been consulting with Canada’s provinces about the best way to move forward on the contentious clause, which he noted has been in place for 40 years.

“I am the minister who has publicly said that we will change this policy because it is out of step with Canadian values on the inclusion of persons with disabilities and how we do that is equally important because this affects provincial health and social service budgets,” Hussen said. “We have to do it in line with what the provinces are willing to do.”

Under the Canadian Constitution, provincial and territorial governments are generally responsible for delivering health and other social services to their residents.

What is excessive demand?

Under Section 38 1 (C) of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a prospective immigrant can be ruled inadmissible on health grounds if their health condition “might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”

Excessive demand is defined as one “for which the anticipated costs would likely exceed average Canadian per capita health services and social services” over a five or 10-year period, or which would affect existing wait times for health and social services in Canada.

In 2017, the cost threshold for a demand to be considered excessive was $6,655 per year or $33,275 over five years.

Posted in Business / Investor Visa, Canada, Canada PNP, Dependent Visa, Immigration, Tourist Visa, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A merit-based future beats our 19th-century immigration system

A merit-based future beats our 19th-century immigration system

A merit-based future beats our 19th-century immigration system

A merit-based future beats our 19th-century immigration system

Our current immigration system — if it can be called a system — is broken and generates enormous controversy. Contrast this with Canada and Australia, which admit many more immigrants in proportion to their native populations and suffer no controversy. They use merit-based “point systems,” accepting only the most qualified.

Why the opposition to such a system in America? Well, life imitates art. Much of the real-life opposition derives from a deeply held belief in the evocative poetry at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, you’re poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

But does this all-welcoming poetry align with our national interest?

It did when Emma Lazarus wrote it in 1883. National policy was Manifest Destiny, which aimed to expand the United States and to settle an unpopulated continent. Indeed, six years later, in 1889, we launched the Oklahoma land rush, offering up to 160 acres to anyone who staked a claim and committed to occupy and cultivate it. The nation needed all the citizens it could attract.

Today, tens of millions around the world would like to emigrate to the United States. Virtually all are “yearning to breathe free.” Obviously, we cannot accept them all. Life can no longer imitate art.

Indeed, long since we have imposed numerical limits on legal immigration. Today, the authorized level is 1 million. So, the key question is what kind of admissions process to follow, not how many to admit.

Our current system is dominated by the family reunification program.

Family reunification is really a self-selection process where one immigrant selects the next, who need only be an extended family member. Thus the term “chain migration.” Essentially, the government has no selective function. It merely verifies kinship.

It is past time to abandon this non-selective element of the 19th century “come one, come all” policy designed to settle the West and develop its agrarian economy.

Our present-day policy objectives are different. We have a populous, highly developed nation. With a declining birth rate and an aging workforce, we need young workers for a sophisticated economy and to support a growing population of retirees and our expensive retirement benefits programs. If that is our critical need, then meeting it should be the primary goal of our immigration system.

That is exactly what Canada and Australia do. Under their merit-based “point systems,” they score applicants for admission on multiple criteria, with the most points awarded to 20-somethings, who are at the beginning of their prime work years. They accept virtually no one age 50 or older — no one with more retirement years than work years ahead of them.

The second most important criterion in Canada and Australia is language proficiency, which is an essential skill for employment and which eases assimilation. Without listing all the criteria and parsing the entirety of these point systems, suffice it to say that they amount to competitive admissions programs, something that is unarguably American.

The case for a merit-based system is compelling. If far more people want to come here than we can accept, it only makes sense to select the best and the brightest.

Unfortunately, proponents of merit-based selection in Washington are advocating a 50 percent reduction of the authorized level of legal immigration. Nothing could be more ill-conceived.

Canada and Australia accept more immigrants than we do. There’s nothing about merit-based systems that require a numerical limit on immigration. We should want 1 million highly qualified immigrants, or more — across all employment sectors and all skill levels, according to our needs.

Now, what about the millions of illegal immigrants living here already? Unfortunately, they are the primary obstacle to overall immigration reform; we keep trying to resolve their status as the first step. It should be the last.

First, we should finally secure the southern border and eliminate visa overstays, and, second, we should adopt a merit-based legal immigration system. These steps are mutually dependent. After all, Harvard can’t accept only the best and the brightest if less capable applicants can simply jump its Ivy walls.

Once these two steps have been taken, then we should address our illegal resident population, using the same criteria we adopt for legal newcomers.

Until then, there should be no normalization, except for the 800,000 Dreamers, if their exception will bring about the first two steps.

Posted in Immigration, USA, Visa and Immigration, Work Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment