Canadian universities are actively recruiting international students who know Canada’s reputation for an excellent academic system, competitive tuition, and a safe, immigrant-friendly society. Many immigrant students want to work while in school and remain in Canada after completing their education. Immigration rules allow international students to work only 20 hours a week while studying; after graduation, their eligibility to stay in Canada depends on their language and other qualifications and having an employer to sponsor them.
“International students say Canadian private colleges use agents working on commission, both here and overseas, who persuade student recruits that paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition is the easiest way to get into Canada and work toward becoming a permanent resident.”
- The Globe and Mail
Changes to United States immigration policy have resulted in visa delays and backlogs for U.S. international students and has made Canada a popular alternative for many foreign students. While the United States is experiencing a decrease in foreign students, internships and job opportunities, Canada has seen the number of foreign students double in recent years.
Because of their eagerness to study in Canada, students and immigration fraud is a concern for foreign nationals who also want to work in Canada. According to a new investigation by The Globe and Mail, immigration recruiters
“exploit foreign nationals for their money, their labour or both. The cases The Globe looked at affected more than 2,000 people who were told – often falsely – that if they gave recruiters huge fees to arrange jobs or college placements, they would be set for life in Canada.”
Foreign students who paid substantial fees to recruiters and enrolled in non-DLI colleges find they do not have jobs in Canada or a degree from a Canada university - and aren’t qualified to stay in Canada.
Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah says Canada has many opportunities for foreign students, as long as IRCC qualifications are met:
“False promises, misrepresentation and immigration fraud are something everyone who wants to move to Canada should be aware of. Full and part-time international students usually require a study permit and must attend a Designated Learning Institution; as well as meet all other eligibility criteria to study and work in Canada. If students want to work while attending school in Canada, there are strict eligibility requirements based on their course study and their potential employer.”
Foreign Students Are Ideal Candidates for Economic Immigration
Despite the problems found in The Globe’s investigation, the Canadian government wants more international students to study in Canada and then become Canadian Permanent Residents to help build the economy. IRCC has created new immigration programs to help qualified international students study in Canada and then work and live in Canada.
1. Student Direct Stream
The Student Direct Stream (SDS) offers faster processing of Study Permit applications for international students with legal resident status in China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam. If the student’s application does not meet the SDS requirements, IRCC will review the application as a regular Study Permit application and the application will not be processed faster.
2. IEC Co-Op Internship
International Experience Canada allows young students aged 18 to 30 or 35 (depending on the country of citizenship) to work in Canada for up to two years. Canada is part of an international agreement with 34 other countries who provide opportunities for young adults to get valuable international work experience.
An IEC student co-op internship in Canada is a Work Permit granted to someone in graduate school who has a written job offer for an IRCC approved position that is related to their field of studies
3. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
A post-graduation work permit allows students who graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain work experience in Canada.
The Post-Graduation Work Permit is an Open Work Permit; international graduates with a PGWP are not required to have a Canada job offer, can work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and can change employers at any time.
Work experience through a Post-Graduation Work Permit Program can help support an application to become a permanent resident of Canada.
4. Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)
OINP gives qualified foreign nationals with specific education, skills and experience targeted by the province who are interested in Ontario immigration the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residence through an expedited process.
It's very beneficial for international students who want to study in Canada to consult a qualified, experienced immigration lawyer to discuss their options and qualifications.