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WES Weekly Roundup November 29, 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.

The Provincial Nominee Program: Retention in province of landing (Statistics Canada)

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in Canada, is aiming to distribute new immigrants across the country more evenly and retain them in nominating provinces or territories for integration. Overall, the program has shown varied retention rates. While national retention rates for PNP immigrants are lower compared to other economic immigrants (indicating that a smaller percentage remain in Canada compared to other categories like federal skilled workers), at the provincial level, rates are similar or higher, except in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island (implying that once PNP immigrants settle in a province, they are likely to stay there). These rates are influenced by factors like economic conditions, labour market dynamics, city size, and immigrant sociodemographic characteristics, with larger cities and provinces with significant ethnic communities having higher retention rates. Sociodemographic characteristics and economic conditions, such as provincial unemployment rates, play a significant role in explaining variations in retention rates among provinces. However, even with these factors considered, notable gaps remain. Additionally, secondary migration within Canada impacts these rates, with provinces like Ontario benefitting from high net retention rates due to more nominees moving in than out, indicative of secondary migration's influence. In contrast, provinces like Prince Edward Island experienced lower net retention rates, highlighting the role of internal migration in shaping Canada's economic immigration landscape. Overall, the PNP effectively retains immigrants in provinces with larger cities and ethnic communities, contributing to their economic and demographic strategies.

Canada’s role in responding to Palestinian refugee crisis a potential ‘minefield,’ experts say (Globe and Mail)

Many Canadians are calling on the federal government to expedite a pathway to safety for Palestinians amid the ongoing conflict in the region. In response to growing speculation of a potential mass resettlement program for Palestinians, Immigration Minister Marc Miller reiterated that IRCC's priority is to evacuate Canadians who remain in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian advocacy groups and refugee lawyers have echoed the request for a humanitarian pathway for Palestinians. According to some experts, due to sensitivities around the Israel-Palestine crisis and the number of individuals impacted, it remains the largest unresolved refugee crisis in the world - with the greatest regional and international political ramifications. Latest numbers from the UNHCR indicate that there are nearly 5.9 million Palestinian refugees registered, many of whom live in refugee camps in the region. As cited by immigration law practitioners, currently, humanitarian migration process is challenging for many Palestinians to access. For example, under private sponsorship, refugees are identified and considered in coordination with the UNHCR while many Palestinian refugees located in areas including Lebanon and Jordan are protected under the United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Updates to current practices are needed to prioritize and provide care to all vulnerable individuals.

Ensuring financial sustainability for Ontario’s postsecondary sector (Government of Ontario)

In a report assessing the health of Ontario's post-secondary education system, several reforms were suggested by Ontario's Blue-Ribbon Panel. The Panel, consisting of a number of experts and representatives across the higher education landscape, found that the sector is indeed facing a number of challenges - including financial constraints. Many advocates within the panel are calling on the Ontario government to lift the freeze on tuition fee hikes. This, of course, may place additional financial strain on students both domestic and international paying for their education and other needs. The Ontario post-secondary system and economy at large are supported largely by international student fees. International students contributed nearly 30 percent of college revenue and 21 percent of university revenue. Many institutions are overly reliant on international student fees and cite within the report that they are unable to sustain domestic fees alone. More can be done to ensure the financial success of the system and ensure equitable treatment and success of both domestic and international students. Earlier this year, WES had provided the following recommendations to the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, as part of Blue-Ribbon Panel consultations:

  • Allocate additional funding to post-secondary institutions, while limiting the tuition fees charged to international students.
  • Examine current recruitments towards the maintenance and development of regulations that support fair and ethical recruitment practices.
  • Ensure that post-secondary institutions provide support and services to international students, including financial, employment, housing, and mental health services.
  • Review eligibility requirements for work integrated learning programs to ensure that international students can qualify for and access them.

Federal government gives $7M to Peel Region for reception centre to welcome asylum seekers (CBC Radio)

The Canadian federal government has allocated $7 million to establish a reception center for asylum seekers in Peel Region, near Toronto's Pearson International Airport. This funding, announced by Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Persons with Disabilities, is part of a response to the increasing pressure on Ontario's resources, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area, due to the growing number of asylum seekers. The center is designed to provide streamlined support and temporary shelter, highlighting the government's commitment to addressing this issue following the tragic death of an asylum seeker in a Mississauga encampment. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow have expressed support for this initiative. Brown emphasized the need for federal intervention after the Mississauga incident, while Chow highlighted the center's role in offering a safe place and crucial services to refugees and asylum seekers. This development is seen as a significant step towards mitigating the homelessness crisis and ensuring the well-being of new arrivals in the region.

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