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WES Weekly Roundup June 28, 2023

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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.

Non-permanent residents in Canada: Portrait of a growing population from the 2021 Census (Stats Canada)

Non-permanent residents (NPRs) are individuals from another country with a 'usual' place of residence in Canada. These include asylum claimants, those who arrive to work or study temporarily, as well as their family members who also fall under this status. Based on recent data from the 2021 census, there are 924,850 non-permanent residents (NPRs) in Canada, making up nearly 2.5 percent of the population. Nearly one third of recent immigrants to Canada have previously lived in the country as NPRs through work or study permits or as asylum claimants before immigrating. Currently, NPR with only work permits were the largest segment of the NPR population (40.1) percent, roughly double the proportion of NPRs with a study permit (21.9). Nine in ten NPRs reside in large urban centers in the most populous provinces across Canada including Ontario (42.9), Quebec (22.2), and British Columbia (18.5). Looking further at demographic segments, younger people make up a significant proportion of non-permanent resident populations. In 2021, approximately three in five NPRs were young adults between the ages of 20 to 34 years (60.1) when compared to recent immigrants (37.3) and the rest of the Canadian population (18.4). India and China are the top places of birth for NPRs with almost two in five being born in one of these two countries. Haiti, Nigeria, and Columbia were among the top ten place of birth for asylum claimants. In general, NPRs aged 15 and older report higher rates of educational attainment (47.8) when compared to the rest of the population (26.1). Asylum claimants aged 15 years and older had the lowest rates of educational attainment, with about half not completing post-secondary education, with the second-highest rate of unemployment amongst NPRs.

B.C. international students are the new temporary foreign workers, stuck without work in their fields: survey (BIV News)

British Columbia boasts the second highest number of students to remain in the province despite having the lowest rate of permanent residency offers to international students. Exploring this unexpected dynamic, a new unpublished survey interviewed 1300 international students to find that most international students who paid more for their education than domestic students and obtained a bachelor’s degree did not seek permanent residence in Canada within 10 years. Regardless of their permanent residency status, international students struggle with both education and employment. International students pay up to five times more than domestic students in tuition fees. They also have a restrictive 20-hour work week for a job unrelated to their paid studies, and are left with financial struggles to handle on top of their academic responsibilities. As a result of the findings, researchers have made recommendations to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), post-secondary institutions, and the provincial government of B.C. Such recommendations include the IRCC permitting international students to take breaks, that post-secondary schools provide employment and career counselling to international students, and that the B.C. government pay attention to employers seeking to exploit graduated international students in the labour market.

Blaming immigration for the country's housing crisis disguises the real problem, analysts say (CBC)

As Canada's population continues to grow, immigration is often pointed to as a source of housing supply issues across the country. Canada's population has officially hit 40 million, with its growth largely due to increases in immigration targets. Plans are also underway to welcome nearly 500,000 newcomers annually by 2025. Given Canada's aging population and labour shortages, encouraging the expansion of a skilled and innovative workforce through immigration has been considered a win by policy makers, economics, and advocates alike. This, however, comes at a time where many municipalities are facing chronic challenges with affordable housing and infrastructure to support population influxes. Many migrant advocates and housing experts cite that criticism of newcomers as that cause for housing concerns is a misguided approach. They suggest that policy makers instead ensure that targets are made in line with improvements to infrastructure and supply to ensure that adequate resources are available to support the current population and newcomers.

Refugee Resettlement Spotlight

Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2022 (UNHCR)

The UNHCR Global Trends Report for 2022 analyzes the “changes and trends” within forced global displacement, from January to December 2022. The report captures how global events have impacted ongoing migration and have led to the formation of newer patterns of forced displacement. The report finds that the total number of forcibly displaced people across the world by the end of 2022 was approximately 108.4 million. Key findings within each section of the report are as follows:

  • Global Forced Displacement – The number of forcibly displaced people in 2022 increased by 21 percent or 19 million people, in comparison to the previous year. According to UNHCR, this increase is the largest between years and continues to increase throughout 2023. 76 percent of the forcibly displaced population can be found in low- and middle-income countries. 
  • Refugees – The total number of global refugees, which includes refugees, those in refugee-like situations, and those needing international protection, became 34.6 million by the end of 2022. Between 2022 and 2021, there was an increase of 35 percent or 8.9 million people. UNHCR attributes such increases to refugees fleeing armed conflict in Ukraine and new estimates of Afghan refugees in Iran and Pakistan. 
  • Internally Displaced People – Internally displaced people (IDP) made up 58 percent of the forcibly displaced population by the end of 2022, akin to data from previous years. The number of IDPs has doubled throughout the last decade and increased by 12 percent from 2021, with a total of 57.3 million people. In 2022, 15 countries hosted over 1 million IDPs due to internally displaced populations in Ukraine, Myanmar, and Mozambique, increasing from 2021’s 12 host countries.

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