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WES Weekly Roundup October 25, 2022

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

From Student to Immigrant? Multi-step pathways to permanent residence (Conference Board of Canada)

The increase of international students in Canada has grown exponentially in the past decade. In 2019, nearly 200,000 study permits were issued to first-time permit holders which is three times the number in 2010. This report highlights that among the majority of international students who obtained permanent residence (PR) in Canada, 88 per cent held multiple temporary visas before gaining PR. The most common pathway to PR was through the Provincial Nominee Program which accounted for about 34% of international students. However, the researchers note that longer periods of time spent with temporary status can result in higher risk of vulnerability to exploitation and increased stress related to immigration status. While some international students have no interest in remaining in Canada post-graduation, there is an increasing number of individuals who do seek PR status. Consequently, their temporary status further contributes to their uncertainty in Canada as they are offered little support and ineligible for settlement services offered by IRCC. The authors provide four recommendations to better coordinate and support international students in Canada:

  1. IRCC and provincial/territorial governments should work together to develop an international immigration and settlement strategy for international students.
  2. IRCC and provincial/territorial governments need to build faster, more predictable pathways to PR for international students and this in turn will help Canada achieve its immigration objectives.
  3. IRCC can make immigration opportunities more transparent by creating an interactive platform that identifies pathways to PR.
  4. Greater post-secondary institution and government investment in settlement supports for international students earlier in their immigration journey.

Canada introduces strengthened protections for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (CIC News)

IRCC and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have announced amendments to regulations and protections of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) in Canada. Thirteen new amendments were implemented to strengthen protections for TFWs. Input was gathered through the TFW Program Ministerial Consultative Roundtable, a forum intended to collect feedback from stakeholders on how to ameliorate the TFWP. Among the new amendments include employer responsibility to provide private health insurance for employees and the suspension of new labour market impact assessments (LMIAs) for employers in violation of TFWP rules. Meetings from the Ministerial roundtable will continue over the course of the next three years and are expected to continuously review and provide recommendations for improvement to the TFWP.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the proportion of NEET: A regional analysis and international perspective (Stats Canada)

Youth not in employment, education, or training (NEET) are at risk of social disconnection and exclusion during their transition from school to work. Throughout the pandemic, shifts to e-learning, disruptions to employment, and mental health concerns significantly contributed to socio-economic challenges faced by NEET youth aged 15-29. When compared to the OECD average of 14 percent, the largest increases in youth NEET were seen in Canada and the United States where NEET rates rose by 46 and 33 percent respectively, over the first year of the pandemic. This is due in part to youth in Canada and the United States having a higher concentration in industries that were severely strained by economic pressures. Post-pandemic economic recovery must focus on programming to support these youth's transitions back into education and the workforce.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Unable to Leave: Afghans Stuck in Afghanistan (The Diplomat)

Afghans who remain in the country continue to face uncertainty and danger while waiting to evacuate to safety abroad. Many Afghans are particularly vulnerable to on the ground risks including food insecurity, natural disasters, collapsed government, religious persecution, gender-based violence, and additional personal safety concerns. According to the World Food Program, more than 90 percent of Afghans have been suffering from food insecurity and at risk of acute malnutrition since August 2021. Migration pathways are essential lifelines to protection but have become increasingly inaccessible, leaving vulnerable groups to seek out precarious routes of migration. Although complementary pathways offer safer routes to protection, advocates are calling on the global immigration policy makers to consider barriers specific to refugees or asylum seekers such as a lack of documentation and provide clearer avenues protection and permanent residency status in third countries.

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