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WES Weekly Roundup March 20, 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.

A Growing Problem: How to align Canada’s immigration with the future economy (RBC)

Canada continues to rely heavily on high rates of immigration as the country navigates several competing economic priorities. While inbound migration has accounted for all the growth in the labour market within the last decade, economists and labour market researchers wonder whether these rates are enough to offset the effects of an aging workforce and ongoing shortages, long-term. Policy interventions have often looked to solve for immediate concerns, resulting in a mismatch of skills and qualifications needed well beyond short-term economic conditions and prolonged economic uncertainty. To maintain economic prosperity and enable quality of life for all, policies should better focus on the economic outcomes of immigrants, needs of the labour market, and reinforcing infrastructure capacity.

Recommendations to better streamline Canada's immigration with economic health include:

  • Update the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) to prioritize economic immigrants with higher predicted earnings;
  • Provide inclusive work opportunities and job readiness programming for international students; update or remove the requirement to state the intention to return home upon graduation;
  • Support post-secondary institutions in building additional student housing; develop coordinated approaches to sustainable funding;
  • Consider mutual credential recognition agreements with leading source countries to streamline and accelerate the credentialling process.

Trudeau rules out Quebec’s request for full control over immigration (Globe & Mail)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has declined Quebec Premier François Legault's request for the province to gain full control over immigration. Instead, Trudeau offered more resources to assist Quebec in managing the challenges posed by the high influx of asylum seekers and temporary foreign workers. During separate press conferences following their meeting in Montreal, Trudeau emphasized Quebec's unique position, having more autonomy in immigration matters than any other province, primarily to safeguard the French language. Trudeau acknowledged Quebec's financial strain in areas like health care and education, and committed to easing these pressures, suggesting future discussions to outline specific support measures. Legault, determined to continue advocating for complete immigration authority, argued that Quebec's status as a nation requires full control to preserve its language, identity, and culture, especially considering the significant number of non-French speakers arriving in the province. While Quebec has jurisdiction over economic immigrants, it shares responsibility with the federal government for refugees and family-reunification immigrants. Legault had previously expressed concerns over the "unsustainable" number of asylum seekers, pushing for reduced entries to alleviate provincial burdens. Trudeau acknowledged the broader challenge of managing temporary immigrants across Canada, promising cooperation with Quebec to address these issues. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre criticized Trudeau's handling of the immigration system, proposing stricter measures against illegal immigration and false asylum claims, aiming for a more orderly process aligned with social services and housing capacity, in collaboration with all provinces, including Quebec.

To read more:

It’s time to restore pride in post-secondary institutions and immigration (Policy Options)

The decision to cap study permits has drawn criticism from multiple sources with many calling for a complete renovation of Canadian immigration and higher education sectors; to restore pride and confidence. Earlier this year, Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, announced limits on international study visas to 360,000. This figure has lately been reduced to 292,000, with permits being allocated by the provinces based on population and then distributing permits among institutions. Permit applications will only be processed along with a provincial attestation letter (PAL), as proof that the applying student has been accounted for under each province’s limit. If the attestation letter is not used by the students, it will be returned to the institution. Among recent critiques of the program have been concerns regarding the promotion of diversity in addition to maintaining Canada’s standard and competitive edge in global education markets. Based on current trends, some experts worry that institutions will consider maintaining and even increasing recruitment of students from countries with historically better visa approval rates and argue that Canada risks relying on ‘low-hanging fruit’;contributing to reduced diversity. This places additional strain on institutions to ensure the appropriate use of attestation letters and that levels do not begin to trigger another rapid influx that will cripple economic longevity and student wellbeing.

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