International Student Recruitment and Retention is a Priority for Canada

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has responded to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) of the Canadian House of Commons on measures needed to attract, aid, and protect international students.

CIMM is a government body that evaluates matters of immigration and citizenship in Canada. The body oversights IRCC and screens the federal multiculturalism policy. The CIMM report was created to state the fact that while Canada is a global leader in inviting international students, few students will be placed in vulnerable situations due to various factors that can be addressed by IRCC.

The stated report highlighted three main objectives in relation to international students:

  1. Attracting international students to study in Canada
  2. Confirming equity in the International Student Program
  3. Improving service and communication for international students in study permits and immigration processes.
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Recruiting International Students

Government officials acknowledged that the number of international students obtaining study permits is expected to increase from 2022 to 2023 to approximately 753,000; while acknowledging CIMM concerns that despite increases, the department does not give adequate consideration to applications from certain countries and populations.

In response, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada devoted to:

  • Discover the development of the Student Direct Stream in specific Asian, African, and French-speaking countries. The SDS is a fast-track stream for attaining a study permit for applicants from 14 countries.
  • Examine rates of the study permit refusals, intended for Quebec by establishing a working group between Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) and IRCC.
  • Re-evaluate the scope of the Nigeria Student Express stream – a study permit stream launched to help students applying from Nigeria.
  • Discovering how to endorse the transition to permanent residence for international students, specifically those with the skills, experience, and language levels required to succeed in Canada.
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Achieving Equity in the International Student Program

The CIMM highlighted various areas in their initial report which was given to IRCC, it identified the probable initiatives to make sure equity in the foreign student program and application processes. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada have promised to review practices and ensure equity throughout the International Student Program.

Providing Better Service and Communication to International Students

Many of the CIMM recommendations included the significance of providing clear and transparent information to clients and stakeholders, including processing times and reasons for refusals. In reply to these, IRCC replied:

  • By late fall 2022, 1,250 new processing staff will be hired to assist with processing capacity, and monthly backlog data will be published
  • To work with Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to collect information about international students’ enrolment and status, with DLIs submitting data elements to IRCC in real-time
  • In order to ensure transparency and understanding, the 2022 pilot program required immigration officers to release their decision notes along with some temporary resident visa (TRV) applications at the time of the decision.

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