Canada is targeting foreign students at Canadian universities as a significant part of its economic strategy.
With the number of Canadians entering the labour force declining for the first time during a period when the country is not in recession, Canada is making a concerted pitch towards growing its international student population – and getting them to stay and work here when they graduate. With the language skills and the education a given, international students have the tools to succeed in Canada. To encourage them to do so, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is shifting its policies to make things easier for students to work while they study, and to join the workforce full-time when they are finished.
Until recently, international students only had permission to work on campus. While universities have made efforts to ensure opportunities are available, the nature of this restriction has limited the opportunities of students to gain the experience to compliment their education. Recent changes to the regulations however allow foreign students who hold study permits to apply for an off-campus work permit. The new rules will allow most students to qualify for employment outside of their campus.
Also shifting are guidelines about hiring foreign students after they graduate. Under new Service Canada (the new federal combined government services agency which includes human resources) operational guidelines, employers can get exemptions from demonstrating recruitment efforts for Canadians if they are wishing to hire foreign graduates. The new guidelines acknowledge the need to facilitate the hiring of these skilled workers and ease their permanent stay in Canada.