New rules for Canada’s Express Entry immigration process put international students in a better position to become permanent residents. The changes, which took effect Nov. 19, are intended to attract highly skilled and educated candidates to the country, and that includes foreign students.
The federal minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship, John McCallum, touted the reforms at the Canadian Bureau of International Education’s annual conference last week in Ottawa. “If I think about what group in the world would make the best future Canadians, the group that comes first to my mind is international students,” he said. “Given that we definitely need immigrants, this is a premium category of people from which to draw.
Previously, applicants could earn 600 points for having a qualifying job offer that was backed by a Labour Market Impact Assessment. A LMIA is no longer needed to receive points for job offers in certain professions, though international students are not likely to be working in those occupations. Job offers no longer need to be “permanent” but need to span at least one year, a change that will benefit workers such as tenure-track faculty, who were experiencing difficulties under the previous system.
Because qualifying job offers earn fewer points now (from 50 to 200), international students with a work permit and perhaps an entry level job, but no qualifying job offer, have improved chances of getting permanent residence through Express Entry. Importantly, international students will now also receive 15 to 30 points depending on the length and level of education they’ve received in Canada.