Canada Sees 5.4% Increase in International Students in 2015

Source: Study International

In 2015, Canada increased the number of study permits issued to international students by 5.4%, according to official government data. In a report compiled by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, it was revealed that 125,783 new study permits were granted to international students last year. The Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration also showed that the number of foreign students applying for study permits in the same year had increased by 6.4 percent from the previous year to 187,968.

For the complete article, please visit Study International.

Canada Student Visa Policy Changes Worry NS Language Schools

Source: CBC via Academica

A recent change to international student visa requirements has caused concern among Nova Scotia’s English language schools, reports CBC. Introduced in July, the new legislative changes require international students in Canada to obtain a second visa before moving from secondary to postsecondary school. “What happened before the changes is students could apply for language training and university training and receive one study permit to cover the whole of the time that they were going to be in Canada,” says Sheila Nunn, president of East Coast School of Languages in Halifax. “This gave them the confidence that they knew that they would go on to the university, they didn’t have to apply for any other paperwork.” Nunn adds that the new regulations might jeopardize pathways programs currently established at NS universities.

Canada Introduces New Visa Process for Conditional Admissions

Source: ICEF Monitor

The Canadian government has quietly introduced an important change to how it processes visas for students entering Canada to pursue conditional admissions or pathway programmes. Under the new processing policy, visa officers are instructed to issue a study permit – that is, a Canadian study visa – only for the period of the student’s prerequisite studies. After successfully concluding any such preparatory studies, the student will now be asked to apply for a further study permit to cover the period of their planned academic programme. This is a departure from the previous practice which saw visa officers issue a single study permit for the entire duration of both programmes.

For the complete article, please visit ICEF Monitor.

Canada Must Work Quickly to Address Barriers for International Students

Source: University Affairs via Academica

Canada needs to act fast in order to gain the economic benefits associated with international students, writes Kareem El-Assal for University Affairs. Some barriers currently in place in Canada may deter prospective international students and steer them in another country’s direction. Obstacles such as slow student visa processing times, inadequate settlement and integration services, and difficulty attaining permanent residency are among issues potentially hindering Canada’s ability to recruit international talent. While the government has implemented a number of strategies to combat these issues, El-Essal says that further immediate action is required to ensure the successful recruitment and retention of future skilled workers to Canada.

Canadian Government Signals Renewed Openness to International Students

Source: University Affairs

According to Amit Chakma, president of [CIEC Academic Member] Western University and chair of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, the Canadian government has recently shown positive signs towards international students hoping to study in Canada. By reviewing the steps these students must take to achieve permanent residency, in addition to changes made to citizenship requirements, Canada aims to make it easier for these students to pursue an education and work in the country after graduating.

For the full article, please visit University Affairs.

International Students at Niagara Claim They Were Denied Work Permits for Taking Online Courses

Source: Globe & Mail via Academica

More than 50 Niagara College students have sought legal representation after they were denied Canadian work permits, allegedly because they took online courses as part of their program. Ravi Jain, an immigration lawyer representing the students, says 30 of his clients have already received rejections on their work permit applications since graduating. While international students have received work permits in the past after completing Niagara’s programs, this year they say they are being refused because Citizenship and Immigration Canada considers online courses to be “distance learning.”

International Permit Wait Times Creating “Competitive Disadvantage”

Source: Edmonton Journal via Academica

According to the Edmonton Journal, Alberta’s international students are facing wait times of up to three months and are consequently being kept from presenting their research at conferences around the world. These students currently cannot leave the country without renewing their Canadian permits and visas unless they risk significant delays upon re-entering the country. These delays can affect their standing in university programs where many have studied for several years. Marcella Cassiano, a third-year PhD student in sociology at the University of Alberta, said, “International graduate students are highly mobile people. We cannot afford to be grounded in Canada for five months waiting for document renewal and miss the opportunity to present our research in international conferences.”

Canada May Be Leaving Billions in Education Exports On the Table

Source: Globe & Mail via Academica

Canada is seventh on the list of destinations for international students but could be much higher, according to a Globe and Mail op-ed. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) projects that the number of students seeking education outside their home country will rise from 4.1 M in 2010 to 7.2 M by 2025. However, due in part to slow visa processing and lack of coordination, Canada could miss out. “[The challenge is] to develop a cohesive Canadian strategy to feature, highlight, promote our academic institutions, and that shouldn’t be just a city-specific or a provincial-specific strategy,” said Patricia McQuillan of Brand Matters Inc.

Lack of Resources and Coordination Contribute to Increased Processing Times for International Students

Source: Globe & Mail via Academica

According to a Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) report obtained by the Globe and Mail, insufficient resources and lack of coordination have contributed to a 30% increase in processing times for study permits and a doubling of the processing time for temporary resident visas. While the federal government has pledged to double the number of international students by 2022, it has not provided sufficient resources to do so, according to [CIEC Academic Member] Western University President Amit Chakma. Universities Canada President Paul Davidson said, “the question of visa processing times is a critical one in terms of attracting top students. If our competitors are able to turn around visas faster, all the marketing efforts, all the recruitment efforts, all the offers of scholarships fail.”