Canada Welcomes International Students – One Door Closes and Another Opens

Recently, President Trump issued a presidential declaration suspending the entry of most new immigrants outside the U.S. for at least 60 days. He ordered a 30-day review to recommend new restrictions on temporary visa holders. Clearly, the situation for international students is very apparent. President Trump’s America First policy has been giving them a hard time, and the journey from an F-1 student visa to an H1B visa worker to a permanent resident is not easy.

With America’s decision to temporarily close its door to international students, what are the next best options in terms of a study destination?

According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), studying in Canada offers important benefits to international students including the quality of the Canadian education system; Canada’s society being tolerant and non-discriminatory; and Canada’s reputation as a safe country. In addition, there are other considerations, such as affordability, English as the medium of instruction at most universities, job market situation, and provision to apply for study and work permits at the port of entry and finally the opportunity to become a permanent resident through the post-graduation work permit.

We know Canada has also been hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and this has played out in the economic sphere as well. No doubt Canada’s positive approach to immigration has also been dampened by the loss of jobs and economic hardships within the nation. But, the attitude towards international students is more favorable in Canada than it is in the U.S. In addition, like in the U.S., college education in Canada is increasingly being delivered online given the circumstances. For these reasons, as things normalize regarding the pandemic, Canada’s trajectory in international student recruitment relative to the United States is expected to improve due to its policies.

A Canadian immigration lawyer shared that there are two primary benefits of the post-graduation work permit. First, this being an open work permit, international students can remain in Canada after graduation without a job offer while they explore work opportunities. Second, through work experience, students can gain bolster points for the Express Entry – Canadian Experience Class permanent resident system.

Though students are only eligible for one postgraduate work permit in their lifetime, they can use the permit anywhere in Canada and are not restricted to the province where they completed their program. U.S. citizen students can apply for a post graduate work permit at the border, unlike most other foreign nationals. This factor significantly reduces the wait time for receiving their work permit, a process that usually takes four to five months for other students.

There is always a flipside. When one door closes, another opens; but our tendency is to look so attentively at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

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