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Canada is making it easier for Senegal and Morocco students to come and study

Students from Senegal and Morocco who wish to study in Canada will soon have access to a fast-track study permit processing program.

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) allows eligible students to apply for a study permit online. The processing time for most SDS applications is 20 days, though some may take longer.

On Sept. 9, 2019, students from Senegal and Morocco will be added to the list of eligible countries that can apply through the SDS. This list also includes India, China, Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan.

Expanding the SDS to Senegal and Morocco supports the federal government’s Francophone Immigration Strategy, which is meant to encourage young French speakers to study in Canada. It also supports the International Education Strategy for 2019 to 2024 in attracting students from a more diverse range of countries.

“Canada’s diverse, welcoming society, high-quality educational institutions and opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a leading destination of choice for students from around the world,” Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said in a statement.

“In expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide.”

The SDS was launched in 2018, the same year when nearly 54,000 former students transitioned to permanent residence.

International students well-positioned for Express Entry

The Express Entry system is Canada’s main source of skilled foreign workers. The profiles of eligible candidates are submitted into a pool and ranked via the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), which awards points according to applicants’ potential to succeed in Canada.

High proficiency in English or French, for example, can help boost a CRS score. Candidates with strong French skills can also earn additional CRS points.

The CRS also considers Canadian education credentials and skilled work experience in Canada, which may put international graduates in a good position to receive an invitation permanent residence through Express Entry.

Canada facilitates access to education for students from Senegal and Morocco

Students from Senegal and Morocco who wish to study in Canada will soon have access to an accelerated program for the processing of study permit applications.

The Direct Stream for Education (VDE) allows eligible students to apply for an online study permit. The processing time for most VDE applications is 20 days, but some files may take longer.

On September 9, 2019, students from Senegal and Morocco will be added to the list of eligible countries to apply for VDE. This list includes India, China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Pakistan.

The expansion of VDE to include Senegal and Morocco supports the federal government’s Francophone Immigration Strategy, which aims to encourage young Francophones to study in Canada. This initiative also supports the International Education Strategy 2019-2024, which aims to attract students from a more diverse range of countries.

“Canada’s welcoming and diverse society, its high quality educational institutions, and the opportunities to work or immigrate after graduation have made Canada a most attractive destination for international students,” said Ahmed Hussen. Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“By expanding the Direct Stream for Education to a wider range of potential students, we are consolidating the enormous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students bring. ”

The VDE was launched in 2018, the year when nearly 54,000 alumni became permanent residents.

Foreign students are well positioned for Express Entry

The Express Entry system is the main source of skilled foreign workers in Canada. Profiles of eligible candidates are submitted to a pool and ranked using the Global Ranking System (GCS) , which awards them points based on their potential for success in Canada.

A good command of English or French, for example, can help improve a score in MBS. Candidates with strong French skills may also earn additional points in the CIS.

VDE also considers Canadian degrees and Canadian skilled work experience, which may place foreign graduates in a good position to receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry.

Canada wants to diversify international student intake

Canada’s new five-year international education strategy is calling for greater diversity, innovation and global ties.

The federal government’s strategy, released this week, recognizes the strong presence of international students in Canada, noting that 570,000 foreign study permit holders contributed over $21 billion to the Canadian economy since the start of 2019.

A key aim of the new $148-million strategy is to increase the variety of source countries for international students. It has pledged almost $30 million to diversify recruitment efforts in this domain.

As is, more than 50 per cent of Canada’s international students come from China and India, and they are concentrated in large cities such as Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. The strategy’s expanded recruitment efforts will target Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, France and Ukraine.

The strategy also aims to diversify where international students study in Canada, thus bringing foreign talent to locations that usually receive fewer immigrants than large urban centres.

Canada offers world-renowned universities such as McGill, in Montreal, and the University of Toronto, both of which are popular with international students. Smaller universities such as the University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, or Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, B.C., may also be an attractive option to those looking for a more intimate post-secondary experience.

The Minister of International Trade Diversification, James Carr, said international students stimulate innovation and develop cross-cultural competencies.

“If [students from abroad] choose to immigrate to Canada, they contribute to Canada’s economic success,” Carr said in a statement. “Those who choose to return to their countries become life-long ambassadors for Canada and for Canadian values.”

Another element of Canada’s international education strategy is an investment of nearly $100 million in Canadians studying overseas, focusing on groups that historically have been denied such opportunities such as Indigenous people, low-income and people with disabilities.

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, said that international students are “often ideal candidates for permanent residency,” in a statement from the International Education Strategy.

“The strategy builds on the attributes that have made Canada a destination of choice for international students: strong schools and programs of study in both English and French; welcoming and diverse communities with an enviable quality of life, and opportunities to start careers and pursue permanent residency,” Hussen said.

Pakistani students can now obtain study permit in as little as 20 days

Students from Pakistan are now eligible for Canada’s Student Direct Stream.

The Student Direct Stream (SDS) has a turn-around time of around of 20-days for study permits for applicants from eligible countries.

Students from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam already have the option of applying via the SDS, which the Government of Canada introduced in 2018 to support its goal “of attracting students from a more diverse range of countries.”

Students from Pakistan not applying through the SDS face an average processing time of eight weeks for their study permits applications.

“By expanding the Student Direct Stream to a more diverse range of prospective students, we’re enhancing the tremendous cultural, social and economic benefits that international students provide,” Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, said in a statement announcing Pakistan’s inclusion in the SDS.

While quicker, SDS applications also require more information up front. Prospective students must provide either English (IELTS) or French (TEF) language results, show proof of payment of tuition for the first year of study and be living outside of Canada when applying, among other criteria.

IRCC says the additional requirements allow officers to assess applications and make decisions more quickly.

International students who graduate from Canadian universities and colleges may be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit.

IRCC says the combination of Canadian education and Canadian work experience makes international graduates ideal candidates for permanent residency through one of Canada’s Federal or Provincial immigration programs.

In 2018, a record 54,000 former students became permanent residents.

A big first half of 2019 for Canada’s Express Entry-linked PNPs

Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program was expected to hit the ground running in 2019 and it did not disappoint.

The Provincial Nominee Program, or PNP, allows participating Canadian provinces and territories to nominate foreign workers and international graduates for Canadian permanent residence through a network of streams tailored to their various labour market needs.

The PNP’s performance so far this year comes as no surprise given it entered 2019 with increased nomination allocations for several provinces and a higher overall admissions target for the year compared to 2018.

PNP ADMISSIONS TARGETS

Express Entry-aligned PNP streams

PNP streams aligned with the federal Express Entry system were extremely active in the first six months of 2019, issuing thousands of invitations to apply for a provincial nomination to immigration candidates with a profile in the federal government’s Express Entry pool.

The Express Entry pool is comprised of candidates for Canada’s three Federal High Skilled immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Each candidate is awarded a core score under Express Entry’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) based on factors that include age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French. This score determines their rank in the Express Entry pool.

While a provincial nomination is not required in order to be eligible for Express Entry, candidates with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points toward their CRS score and, as a result, are effectively fast-tracked for an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

These 600 points can be especially critical to Express Entry candidates with core CRS scores that are lower than the cut-off scores in federal invitation rounds.

In order to be considered for a provincial nomination through most Express Entry-aligned PNP streams, the first step is to enter a profile in the Express Entry pool.

Ontario

Ontario’s 2019 allocation of 6,900 nominations is the largest of the nine provinces and two territories that take part in the PNP.

Ontario is Canada’s most populous province and home to both the country’s biggest city, Toronto, and Canada’s national capital, Ottawa. The province receives the greatest share of newcomers to Canada each year and was the destination of 64 per cent of new permanent residents admitted through the Express Entry system in 2018.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)’s three Express Entry-linked streams were by far its most active in the first half of 2019, issuing a total of 3,846 Notifications of Interest (NOIs) to Express Entry candidates.  Only Express Entry candidates with a NOI can apply for a provincial nomination for Canadian permanent residence.

Ontario’s three Express Entry-linked streams are:

These streams allow the OINP to search the federal Express Entry pool for candidates who meet their respective eligibility requirements.

A job offer is not among the listed requirements for the three streams and only the Human Capital Priorities Stream requires a minimum CRS score.

Of the 3,846 NOIs issued through these streams in the first half of 2019, 67 per cent (2,565) were issued through the Human Capital Priorities Stream in two draws, both of which had a minimum Express Entry CRS score of 439.

This trend has continued into the second half of 2019, which Ontario kicked off by announcing the Human Capital Priorities Stream would hold draws for Express Entry candidates with work experience in one of six eligible tech occupations.

The OINP’s first Tech Draw was subsequently held on July 8 and a total of 1,623 Express Entry candidates with CRS scores as low as 439 were issued NOIs — a new NOI record for the Human Capital Priorities Stream.

The OINP’s Express Entry-linked French-Speaking Skilled Worker and Skilled Trades streams were also active in the first six months of 2019 and issued a combined 1,281 NOIs.

The French-Speaking Skilled Worker Stream allows the OINP to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who meet its French and English proficiency requirements, among other selection criteria.

The Skilled Trades Stream allows the OINP to search the Express Entry pool for Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class candidates currently living in Ontario who have a minimum of one year full-time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time work, in Ontario in a skilled trade listed in Minor Group 633 or Major Group 72, 73, or 82 under Canada’s National Occupational Classification (NOC), among other criteria.

Alberta

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)’s Express Entry Stream has been one of Canada’s more talked-about PNP pathways since its creation just over a year ago and the first six months of this year were no exception.

The AINP uses the stream to search the Express Entry pool for candidates who meet its eligibility criteria, which include a minimum CRS score of only 300.

A job offer or previous work in Alberta is not required, but candidates must be working in an occupation that supports “Alberta’s economic development and diversification priorities.” The AINP does not provide a list of eligible occupations.

The AINP also says it may give priority to candidates with:

  • a job offer and/or work experience in Alberta;
  • a degree from a Canadian post-secondary institution and a valid job offer; or
  • a parent, child or sibling already living in Alberta.

The AINP held 16 draws through the stream and issued a total of 3,816 NOIs. The most exciting aspect of these draws was the fact eight of them had a minimum CRS score requirement of 302 or less. Four of these draws had a cut-off score of 300.

By comparison, the lowest cut-off score in the 13 all-program federal Express Entry draw so far in 2019 was 438; nine of these 13 draws had a cut-off score above 450.

Nova Scotia

The province of Nova Scotia on Canada’s East Coast showed why it is one of Canada’s PNPs to watch in the first half of 2019.

The Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP) is one of Canada’s most innovative nominee programs and uses three streams to select Express Entry candidates.

The NSNP used its Labour Market Priorities Stream on three occasions to search the Express Entry pool and identify candidates with work experience in specific occupations. A job offer is not among the stream’s selection criteria and a minimum CRS score is not always required.

Its June 3 draw invited 312 Express Entry candidates with work experience as early childhood educators and assistants and did not have a CRS requirement. A January 25 draw for financial auditors or accountants had a CRS cut-off of 400.

The NSNP also held a Labour Market Priorities Stream draw in March for Express Entry candidates who listed French as their first language. No cut-off score was specified for this draw.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker: Express Entry sub-category also had a busy first half of 2019.

This sub-category operates on an Expression of Interest (EOI) basis, meaning Express Entry candidates who would like to be considered for a provincial nomination from Saskatchewan must register a separate profile with the province.

Profiles are awarded a score based on Saskatchewan’s unique points grid and the highest-scoring candidates are issued an invitation to apply for a provincial nomination through regular draws from the province’s EOI pool.

In order to be eligible, Express Entry candidates must have work experience in an occupation listed as in-demand in the province, among other criteria. A job offer is not required in order to be eligible.

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) held eight invitation rounds through its Express Entry sub-category during the first half of 2019 and issued 1,166 invitations to apply for a provincial nomination.

The SINP also revised the in-demand occupations list twice during this period, with the addition of professions such as Computer Programmers and Interactive Media Developers, among others.

Candidates with work experience in several of the newly added occupations were then targeted by the SINP in subsequent draws.

These targeted draws were conducted through the SINP’s Express Entry sub-category on three occasions between January and July 2019.

Other PNP activity

Express Entry-linked streams in the provinces of Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia were also active in the first six months of this year.

The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program issued more than 4,500 invitations to skilled worker candidates over the course of 12 draws, of which at least 300 went to Express Entry candidates.

Prince Edward Island held six draws between January and July and issued a combined 671 invitations to candidates in its Express Entry and Labour Impact categories.

The British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program also issued invitations through its Express Entry B.C. Stream on a weekly basis in the first half of 2019.

“Canada’s PNP streams are constantly evolving to meet labour market needs across the country,” said David Cohen, senior partner with the Campbell, Cohen Canadian immigration law firm in Montreal, Canada.

“For Express Entry candidates with lower scores, a provincial nomination can be the difference between obtaining Canadian permanent residence and not.”