US and Canadian immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: One of the most welcome announcements I have heard lately is that the federal government will revamp the Express Entry program to make permanent residency for foreign students easier:
Immigration Minister John McCallum said he intends to launch federal-provincial talks to reform the current Express Entry program, a computerized system that serves as a matchmaking service between employers and foreign skilled workers. Thousands of international students have been rejected for permanent residency because the program favours prospective skilled workers from abroad.
“We must do more to attract students to this country as permanent residents,” Mr. McCallum told reporters after meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts Monday. “International students have been shortchanged by the Express Entry system. They are the cream of the crop in terms of potential future Canadians and so I certainly would like to work with my provincial and territorial colleagues to improve that.”
Permanent Residency For Foreign Students Through Experience Class
As Immigration Minister John McCallum rightly points out, the introduction of the Express Entry program has put these desirable immigrants at a disadvantage. In the past, students could apply for permanent residency through the Canadian Experience Class (CEC). This required students to graduate from school and then have one year of work experience under their belt before obtaining permanent residency. It was a good system. Why was it discontinued? Beats me.
It is senseless to mix students into the Express Entry system, which for all intent and purpose is a foreign worker program. What makes more sense is simply to return to the CEC method and make it possible for graduates to enter the ranks of taxpaying professionals as soon as possible. Why would Canada want to disqualify an educated student who has worked in the country for a year in a skilled job with a Canadian employer who wanted that student? Isn’t that exactly what we are trying to achieve with such immigrants? To keep the economy moving with bright people leading the way?
McCallum’s comments above give me hope that the Canadian government will see the light on this. If Express Entry is to remain the program of choice, then at the very least foreign students who have lived and studied in Canada for years should receive hefty bonus points to help keep them in Canada.