According to a report by Colleges and Institutes Canada, the Canadian government should create new permanent residency pathways for international students who graduate from colleges and institutes. As per the paper, in order to sustain economic growth in the face of low birth rates and demographic shifts, Canada must tap into the “global talent pipeline.”
It proposes three suggestions, all of which are centred on the creation of a national employment stream for skilled entrants, more employer-recognized national micro-credentials, and new permanent residency pathways for overseas students.
“Canada needs immigrants, but they continue to face barriers that generate frustration and prevent employers from fully benefiting from the valuable human capital that they bring. This includes a growing immigrant wage gap and difficulties getting foreign credentials recognized,” said CICan’s president and CEO, Denise Amyot.
“Colleges and institutes across Canada play a critical role in supporting skilled immigrants and helping their integration through a variety of services and learning opportunities.
“Not to mention the growing number of international students joining us from around the world, many of whom hope to put their skills to work here in Canada. “Collectively, Canada’s public colleges and institutes are therefore ideally positioned to support a truly national approach to integration and settlement services,” she added.
Eligibility for these programs should be directly linked to the value of skills and labour market needs rather than duration or degree of education. Canada has set lofty new immigration ambitions, seeking to bring in over 4,00,000 new permanent citizens each year between 2021 and 2023.
“Achieving Canada’s 2021 immigration targets will require new, innovative and streamlined pathways to permanent residency for international students’ post-graduation by implementing retention driven programs like the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot, Mobilité Francophone, and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which has now become a program due to its success,” the report added.
“Colleges and institutes play a key role in ensuring that graduates have the right mix of skills that will allow them to integrate into the labour market and benefit from these programs. Models based on these pilots could be expanded across the country mapping not only to specific regions but also industry.”
“This is a significant source of skilled newcomers for communities across Canada, as many seek permanent residence after graduating with in-demand skills that match the needs of the local labour market,” CICan said.
According to the research, colleges and institutes are the fastest-growing level of study for overseas students in Canada, representing just over half of all post-secondary study licenses issued. CICan is the voice of Canada’s publicly financed institutions, universities, CEGEPs, and polytechnics, as well as ICA international pioneer in employment education with programs in over 25 countries. Each year, CICan members contribute more than $190 billion to the Canadian economy.