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.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has unveiled a number of reforms intended to address and mitigate fraud in Canada's international student programming. Recently introduced is a multilayered authentication system for ensuring genuineness of acceptance letters from colleges and universities. Obtaining a verified acceptance letter to apply for a study permit is now required, as fraudulent letters have been used in some cases to enter the country under previous schema. Starting in December, IRCC will mandate colleges and universities to verify letters before the federal government processes study applications, as part of the new 'recognized institutions framework'. Universities and colleges found to be in good standing with vetting and supporting international students upon arrival in Canada, would have their students' study permit applications expedited. Following investigations, such advanced measures are meant to provide a more comprehensive approach to monitor admissions, combat recruitment scams that often result in the exploitation of students, and reward 'good actors'. Canada is currently on track to host 900,000 students, a near tripled increase from the last decade.
The Canadian federal government's Minister of IRCC, Marc Miller, announced that Canada will maintain its immigration targets, planning to admit 500,000 permanent residents by 2026. The targets for 2024 and 2025 are set at 485,000 and 500,000, respectively. The government aims to balance economic growth with successful integration, maintaining humanitarian traditions, and supporting francophone immigration. The new Immigration Levels Plan for 2024-26 aims to stabilize permanent resident levels by 2026 to allow for more sustainable population growth, housing and infrastructure planning. Additional initiatives include new francophone immigration targets and a permanent Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot program to encourage settlement in smaller communities. This decision follows a decline in public support for immigration, as Canadians increasingly link immigration with affordability and housing issues, and express concerns about the ability of communities to absorb large numbers of newcomers. The announcement outlined the government's plans to reform the immigration system to better align with Canada's needs, which includes attracting skilled workers, such as construction workers, to address labour shortages. There will also be a focus on addressing the exponential rise in non-permanent residents, like international students, who wish to stay in Canada. Quebec has raised concerns about not being consulted on federal immigration thresholds and the need for additional infrastructure and schooling to support the increased population, emphasizing the province's commitment to protecting the French language. Overall, the government's message is that Canada's immigration policy is adapting to address the country's economic, cultural, and infrastructural needs, while taking into account public sentiment and regional concerns.
Public support for immigration appears to be on the decline as Canada grapples with a number of economic crises. Increasingly, Canadians’ growing concerns over housing shortages and affordability has been linked to heightened skepticism over recent influxes of newcomers to Canada. According to a poll from Environics Research and the Century Initiative, 44 percent of Canadians believe that immigration levels are too high, a rise of nearly 27 percent from last year - the largest jump ever recorded in their database. Nearly a year ago, support for immigration was stronger than ever. Overtime, however, several economic challenges including high inflation, climbing interest rates, and crippling housing costs have added to worries facing Canadians. The largest declines in support for immigration can be seen in the provinces British Columbia and Ontario. Contrastingly, polling reveals that Canadians are seeing the positives in immigration, with nearly three-quarters of respondents agreeing that immigration has had a positive impact on the economy.