In a much-anticipated turnaround to its immigration policy, the Canadian government made a groundbreaking announcement on 14 November 2016 for easing pathway to Permanent Residency Canada. Approved after long consultations with community leaders in Canada, these changes will most notably take effect on the country’s “Express Entry Program”, a selection process for prospective migrants to Canada.
International students who graduate from a Canadian institution will be part of other groups of skilled workers and prospective immigrants. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will then use a standardized scoring system to determine which applicants will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residency Canada. These policy changes in the Express Entry Program will legally take effect from 19 November 2016.
- International graduates of Canadian post-secondary institutions will receive 15 points for the completion of a one-year or two-year program. They will get 30 points for the completion of degree studies at undergraduate or postgraduate levels.
- On the other hand, job offers for seniors management positions will receive 200 points, while all other job offers will get 50 points, compared to the current standing of 600.
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According to John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship,
“Our department has done simulations of what all of these changes will mean”. He added, “…and those simulations suggest that whereas today 30 percent of all of the people invited to apply under Express Entry are international students, that with these changes that number will move from 30 to 40 percent.”
The government’s logic stems from the proximity and social networks already established by international students in Canada, due to their time spent in the country. With these new measures, many international students who have been waiting to apply for permanent residency Canada will be benefited. Their age, education, skills, and experience will be an additional bonus. Moreover, integrating into Canadian society permanently will be easier due to their familiarity with Canadian culture.
However, it remains to be seen how this policy will affect job applicants to Canadian industries. Many of them may be applying from countries that are culturally similar to Canada. A drop of 400 points will most probably reduce the number of applicants significantly. A window of opportunity is still open for them, especially if they are applying for senior management positions in Canada.