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WES Weekly Roundup March 6, 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.

Ontario Colleges and International Students: A Pivotal Time (CERC Migration & Integration)

Canada has reached a pivotal moment regarding International Student Programming (ISP). Record increases in admittances and bad actors have pushed policy makers to explore safeguarding measures including a cap on the country's student intake. Many higher-ed officials have raised concerns on the projected impacts of new rules, primarily those from private colleges, who receive limited funding from the provincial government and rely heavily on tuition from international students to cover operating costs. Advocacy coalitions and international students themselves have sounded the alarm over access to quality education, housing, and services. In examining these phenomena in the context of Ontario, experts are recommending several interventions to enhance the integrity and sustainability of the ISP in line with the principles of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement:

  • Implement recommendations as provided by the Ontario Blue Ribbon Panel and Auditor General of Ontario towards increasing sustainable funding and services for international students.
  • Co-develop and consult on inclusive processes to design housing strategies and a framework for recognized institutions.
  • Ensure post-graduate work permits contribute to permanent residence eligibility; expand Provincial Nominee Programming to allocate spaces for qualified graduates.
  • Improve oversight on overseas recruiters; conduct bilateral evaluation of the ISP.

The decline in the citizenship rate among recent immigrants to Canada: Update to 2021 (Stats Canada)

Recent immigrants to Canada are acquiring citizenship at a significantly lower rate than in previous decades. From 1996 to 2021, the citizenship rate among immigrants living in Canada for five to nine years dropped from 75.4 percent to 45.7 percent, with nearly half of this decline occurring from 2016 to 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic accounts for roughly 40 percent of the downturn during these latter years, marking an unprecedented slump in citizenship rates since 1996, even when considering the pandemic's effects. Contributing factors to this downward trend include stricter language requirements, increased application fees, and modified residency criteria which extended the period required to live in Canada before applying for citizenship. Additionally, global, and economic conditions in immigrants' country of origin may be reducing their desire for Canadian citizenship. The decline is more pronounced among immigrants with lower education levels, family incomes, and proficiency in Canada's official languages, and varies by region of origin, with those from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and West Asia experiencing greater drops compared to immigrants from the United States, Western Europe, and Southern Europe. The decline's complexity highlights the influence of policy adjustments and global trends. Despite policy changes in 2017 intended to ease the citizenship process, the declining trend not only continued but also intensified from 2016 to 2021, indicating that broader socio-economic and global factors are affecting immigrants' citizenship decisions.

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