Ottawa looks to ease international students' path to permanent residency

March 15, 2016
Article Source
The Globe and Mail

The Liberal government is moving to make it easier for international students to become permanent residents once they have graduated from Canadian postsecondary institutions.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said he intends to launch federal-provincial talks to reform the current Express Entry program, a computerized system that serves as a matchmaking service between employers and foreign skilled workers. Thousands of international students have been rejected for permanent residency because the program favours prospective skilled workers from abroad.

"We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents," Mr. McCallum told reporters after meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts Monday. "International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system. They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians and so I certainly would like to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to improve that."

Mr. McCallum said international students are ideal immigrants and should be recruited by Canada.

"I believe international students are among the most fertile source of new immigrants for Canada. By definition, they are educated. They speak English or French," said the minister.

"They know something about the country, so they should be first on our list of people who we court to come to Canada," the minister said.

International students have been uncertain about whether they will be able to stay in Canada after they finish their studies since the former Conservative government introduced the Express Entry system on Jan. 1, 2015. Prior to that, they had a clear path to permanent residency.

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