The new international education strategy entitled “Building on Success: Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019-2024) was announced this year in August and will be effective until August 2024. The plan commits $147.9 million over five years followed by $8 million per year of ongoing funding. International students will benefit from modernized immigration processes, plus the addition of $5 million over five years for more scholarships for international students to study in Canada.
In 2018, 721,205 international students at all levels studied in Canada – the largest number ever, contributed an estimated $21.6 billion to Canada’s GDP, and supported almost 170,000 jobs for Canada’s middle class, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2019.
International students are often ideal candidates for Canadian permanent residency since most of them are young, have Canadian educational qualifications and in-demand labour skills and are proficient in at least one official languages, and nearly 54,000 former students became permanent residents in Canada in 2018, said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Educational expenditures by international students have a greater impact on Canada’s economy than exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft, stated Building on Success: Canada’s International Education Strategy (2019-2024).
So, how does Canada intend to do to build on recent programs for international students in the next years and what may international students benefit from the Strategy?
Initiative 1: Expand the Student Direct Stream (SDS)
Canada has been attracting many international students from many countries, but more than half of them come from China and India. The Strategy aims to diverse student population by attracting more international students from target countries by expanding the Student Direct Stream to additional markets. Approximate $1 million over five years and $100,000 ongoing has been dedicated to the expansion. The SDS, which allows students who submit applications electronically and meet additional upfront requirements to access faster visa processing time, was launched in 2018 and was initially only available to four countries: China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Morocco, Pakistan and Senegal were recently added to the list as well.
Source: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, temporary residents data, February 28, 2019.
Initiative 2: Modernize immigration form and processes
Canada has been converting its immigration applications to the web. For instant, since earlier this year, study permit applicants who are applying from inside Canada are required to submit their applications online. The Strategy states approximate $18 million over five years and $1.2 million ongoing to improve the dynamic electronic application process to improve client services for those who seek to visit, work or stay in Canada. It seems the initiative will involve enhancing online application systems.
Initiative 3: Launch additional scholarships for international students
Canada currently has variety of scholarships for specific regions and countries. The Strategy will consolidate existing programs to support Canada’s education brand in target markets. Also included in the budget is additional scholarships, $5 million over five years for international students to attract select students by targeting countries, programs and schools, and strengthen bilateral relations.
Canada hopes this five-year strategy will diversify the current international student population and increase foreign talent in areas outside urban centers to help those regions to grove and improve. The Strategy will equip Canada with the skills, knowledge and expertise needed to innovate and thrive in the global economy.
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