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WES Weekly Roundup October 5, 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.

Enhancing the Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants to Canada (Fraser Institute)

Canada highly values immigration for bolstering its labour market and economic growth and has outlined plans for a substantial increase in immigrant intake in the 2023–25 Immigration Levels Plan. Historically, immigrants faced earnings disadvantages compared to Canadian-born individuals, especially during the 1970s-1990s, even when accounting for similar educational and work experiences. Modern studies highlight major contributors to this earnings gap: the valuation of foreign-based human capital in Canada, the importance of location-specific human capital, the critical role of language proficiency, and various integration challenges. Notably, wage-setting discrimination was not a leading factor. Informed policy changes will be necessary to address these challenges and capitalize on the potential benefits of immigration. Proposed initiatives include placing a greater emphasis on prior experience working in Canada (as students or on Work Permits), refining the selection process to prioritize language proficiency, and considering factors such as age upon arrival. A notable policy development is the "Two-Step" system, which focuses on sourcing economic immigrants from international students and temporary workers already in Canada. In May 2023, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) introduced a category-based selection strategy. This shift moves away from the traditional points-based system and focuses on immigrants with specific qualifications in sectors like technology and healthcare, as well as those proficient in the French language. The central goal is to bolster the labour market performance of immigrants and ensure Canada harnesses the full potential of its immigration policies.

The Canada-India diplomatic crisis: Will the flow of Indian students to Canada be affected?

As the diplomatic tension between Canada and India intensifies, potential repercussions for the education sector are beginning to emerge. Stemming from Canada's allegations that India was involved in the assassination of a Sikh activist on Canadian soil, the crisis has far-reaching consequences, especially given India's status as Canada's predominant supplier of international students and immigrants. The deteriorating relationship has resulted in trade talk postponements, suspension of visa processing services for Canadians by India, and educational agents redirecting Indian students to other countries. Canadian universities have expressed concerns about potential visa delays for incoming students due to the tensions, urging them to consider later academic sessions. Despite the deep-seated economic and cultural ties, including the vast Indian diaspora in Canada, the situation remains volatile. Many in the education sector, such as university representatives and current students, express profound concern, emphasizing the urgency for both governments to resolve the dispute. The long-term impact on the movement of Indian students to Canada will depend on the diplomatic trajectories the two nations undertake in the coming months.

Shared Gains: Immigrant-Origin Students in U.S. Colleges (Migration Policy Institute)

US college enrollment trends have shifted in recent decades, fueled by ever changing demographics and economy. The rapid increase of college enrollments of immigrant origin students has offset a projected decline between 2011-2021. Students of immigrant origin comprise of first- and second-generation individuals (those born abroad such as international students, and those born in the US with one or more immigrant parents). From 2011-2021, immigrant parents and their children went from being 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 enrolled students in a US two year or four-year program. This steady expansion is attributed to an increase in second generation students, many of whom are Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, and Latino. Researchers highlight a positive relationship between parental education and rates of college enrollment among their children. Nearly half of newcomers have a bachelor's degree or higher and findings suggest that children of highly educated immigrants will enroll in US colleges at higher rates. These trends serve as indicators for the successful socio-economic integration of immigrant communities across the US, especially as they occur during a time of skills and labour shortages. Addressing barriers to college enrollment and completion—both those that affect all students as well as those particularly relevant to students from immigrant families, such as language barriers and legal status—will support the school-to-work transition of the next generation of talent.

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