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Immigration Canada (IRCC) announced in March of this year that as of June 6, 2017, candidates in the Express Entry pool who are French speakers or have a sibling in Canada may obtain additional points. In addition to these changes, registration in the Canada Job Bank is no longer mandatory for candidates without a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination, though candidates may still choose to enter the Job Bank and pursue employment opportunities via this free service.
These improvements aim to change to a more dynamic Express Entry system. “Economic immigration programs managed by the Express Entry system attract highly talented and skilled immigrants that businesses need to help grow and strengthen our economy,” said Canada’s Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen.
Many candidates will retain their existing score, while some candidates may obtain a boost in their score. Those with a sibling in Canada may obtain an additional 15 points, and/or a proven French ability candidate may obtain additional 30 points. Other additional factors that currently exist are worth significantly more points than the new factors being introduced. Candidates with a qualifying job offer obtain either 50 or 200 points and candidates with a provincial nomination obtain 600 points.
Minister of Immigration Hussen has also confirmed a baseline of at least 300,000 new immigrants to Canada as a target for 2017, after a historic high of 320,932 new arrivals to Canada from the period of July 2015 to July 2016. “This is a reflection of our commitment to the idea that immigration continues to be a key ingredient to our economic future as a country,” he said, also reiterated his department’s commitment to family reunification.
More International Students Choosing Canada, Transitioning to Permanent Residence Through Express Entry
According to Immigration Canada, there has been a significant increase in the number of international students enrolling in Canadian universities for the 2017/2018 academic year. In recent months, international students are choosing to study in Canada, and they immigrate after graduation. The increase is attributed to the growing perception of Canada as a stable and welcoming study destination in the wake of various political events worldwide.
Canada is a top-10 study destination worldwide, in terms of hosting international students. Between 2008 and 2016, the number of study permits that became effective each year more than doubled. In 2008, a total of 128,411 study permits became effective. In 2016, this figure was 267,780.
By the end of 2016, there were more than 414,000 active study permits. Almost half of these students study in Ontario, followed by British Columbia and Quebec.
Many news sites have reported a recent surge in interest in Canada as an immigration and study destination, often attributed to the election of United States President Donald Trump.
Pathway to Permanent Residence
International graduates of Canadian institutions may obtain a Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) after their studies, allowing them to work anywhere in Canada, for any employer, for up to three years. Work experience gained on a PGWP can contribute towards an international graduate’s eligibility for permanent immigration programs, and can provide a way to remain in Canada and work while an application for permanent residence is in process. In November 2016, Immigration Canada introduced additional points under the Express Entry CRS for candidates in the Express Entry pool with a Canadian educational credential. This served to make international graduate candidates more competitive in the Express Entry pool. More than 30,000 former study permit holders became permanent residents in 2016, and the majority entered as economic immigrants.
For international students and graduates in Canada, is Express Entry the only way to go for permanent immigration or are there other potential options?
The Express Entry immigration system is popular among international graduates who studied in Canada and benefit from the additional points being awarded for their Canadian educational experience. This however, isn’t the only option available. Canada’s provinces and territories welcome former international students, particularly those who studied in the given province or territory, through the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs). All provinces have dedicated PNP streams for students and graduates.
In addition to Express Entry and the PNPs, international students and graduates in the province of Quebec may apply to the Programme de l’expérience Québécoise, or PEQ, otherwise known as the Quebec Experience Class.
There are many immigration options for international students and graduates in Canada. You can explore more options on the Canada Immigration website cic.gc.ca/ctc-vac/cometocanada.asp, or you can contact an immigration consultant to find out what programs are right for you.