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WES Weekly Roundup February 28, 2024

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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.

How Canada's study permit cap will change where international students are coming from (Toronto Star)

The Canadian government's recent restrictions on study permits are poised to significantly alter the landscape of international student enrollment in the country, affecting colleges and universities' admission strategies and potentially hindering efforts to diversify the student body. The new regulations to reduce incoming international student intake by 35 percent (cap), will prompt educational institutions, particularly in Ontario, to focus on recruiting students from countries with historically high study permit approval rates. This shift aims to ensure that admitted students can successfully enroll and pay tuition fees. The cap will affect the processing of applications from each province, potentially wasting enrollment opportunities if applications are refused. Many ‘high-risk’ applications originate from African countries, which have experienced significant growth in international enrollment in recent years, now competing once more with traditionally higher approval rates for students from countries like India and China. Efforts to diversify student populations have been longstanding, with previous investments aimed at mitigating risks associated with geopolitical crises. However, new restrictions may unravel these efforts, particularly impacting African student enrollment due to lower visa approval rates. Special programs to fast-track study permits to provinces is based on population size, with provincial governments responsible for distributing them to authorized institutions. However, experts have raised concerns about loopholes that allow students to freely change schools within Canada, potentially undermining the effectiveness of redistribution. Amidst uncertainties, international students' commitment to studying in Canada appears to be wavering, as evidenced by a lack of deposits paid to reserve seats. This trend is part of a broader decline in market share for major study abroad destinations like Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, raising concerns about Canada's future competitiveness in attracting international students.

'Is the Canadian dream broken?' Earning gaps are emerging for second-generation Canadians (Toronto Star)

Many immigrant families arrive in Canada expecting to build a prosperous future for themselves and subsequent generations. Youth of immigrant backgrounds - those born abroad and second-generation immigrants, are reminded of the sacrifices made by previous generations in their pursuit of academic and economic success, towards the 'Canadian Dream'. Researchers from CERC Migration and Integration at Toronto Metropolitan University suggest that current labour market trends appear to reveal cracks in this dream. Upon examining outcomes documented in national household surveys from 2001, 2011, and 2021 - earning disparities are apparent amongst three waves of second-generation Canadians, including South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, and Latin American ethnic groups. Key findings reveal deteriorating earning potential despite increasing levels of educational attainment, reinforcing challenges in equitable labour market outcomes across generational cohorts. In addition to education, researchers note that building social capital and expanding knowledge beyond one's ethnic community; continuing to build advocacy efforts to enable career development supports; and addressing equity concerns, is vital to advancing long-term success.

Opinion: Recognizing immigrants’ credentials is important — but it’s just one piece of the puzzle (Vancouver Sun)

Lack of recognition for international credentials often compounds a number of barriers newcomers may face when looking to enter the Canadian workforce. Provinces across Canada, including British Columbia, have taken several vital steps. In November 2023, the government of British Columbia (BC) launched the International Credentials Recognition Act, that removes barriers to skilled immigrants working in 29 regulated professions like engineering, social work, architecture, and accounting. Although a critical first step, government officials recognize that the act still excludes a number of health care and trades professionals - while the province grapples with shortages in these sectors. The most recent Labour Market Outlook for BC predicts about one million vacancies over the next decade and trends suggest shortfalls facing the economy will need to be filled by not only Canadian workers. Recommendations for comprehensive immigration to labour market planning include extending the international credential recognition act to workers in critical sectors such as health care and skilled trades; better aligning the provincial nominee program to workforce needs; and supporting employers in enabling immigrant talent.

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