international students in Canada

The Canadian government has issued its response to the CIMM committee report regarding certain problems faced by international students

Recently the (IRCC) Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada released their response to the (CIMM) Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in regard to measures that need to be taken to attract, aid, and protect international students in Canada who are both coming to or already inside Canada.

The CIMM is an internal government committee of Canada that observes matters regarding immigration and citizenship in the country. The CIMM report was established for the purpose of aiding international students in Canada who are in a disadvantageous or vulnerable position due to problems that the IRCC can help them address and solve, due to this the CIMM committee also has oversight over IRCC along with monitoring the federal multiculturalism policy.

The CIMM committee report mainly deals with the following three matters related to international students in Canada:

  • Attract more international students to study in Canada.

  • Ensuring equity in the international students in Canada Program.

  • Provide better service and communication for international students in Canada in the study permit and immigration processes.

The response of the IRCC focuses on measures that can be taken, and are already in place for the purpose of aiding in these three objectives. Each objective is covered individually in order to reduce vulnerabilities and help international students through the permit application, study, and settlement process in Canada.


Attempts to bring in more international students in Canada

It is recognized by the government of Canada that the number of study permit holders is estimated to rise up to approximately 753,000 international students from 2022 to 2023. However, despite the increases, it agrees with the CIMMs concern regarding applications from certain countries that do not receive adequate consideration from the department in Canada.

In response to this situation, the IRCC has taken the following measures:

  • Explore expansion of the (SDS) Student Direct Stream to specific Asian, African and French-speaking countries. The SDS is a fast-track stream for obtaining a study permit for candidates from 14 countries.

  • Investigate study permit refusals rates (at large, and for Francophone African students specifically), destined for Quebec—through establishing a working group between (MIFI) Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration and IRCC.

  • Maintain and re-assess the scope of the (NSE) Nigeria Student Express stream which is a study permit stream created to aid students applying from Nigeria.

  • Determine how to best promote the transition to permanent residence for international students, especially those with the skills, experience, and language levels necessary to succeed in Canada.

Making sure there is equity in the international students in Canada program

In the initial report of the CIMM to the IRCC, the committee brought to attention a number of areas that identified potential initiatives to make sure there is equity in the international student program and application processes. In response to this, the IRCC has taken the following measures to ensure equity throughout the (ISP) international students in Canada Program:

  • Continuing to include questions pertaining to accessibility, race, and gender in the annual voluntary client experience survey, to become more aware of how clients deal with unique challenges based on their demographics.

  • Establish a (DDAF) Disaggregated Data and Analytics Framework. Disaggregated data is a type of data that has been filtered to understand specific relationships that it holds, based on demographic characteristics. (For more clarification an example would be) a specific group of people is impacted by a particular policy or phenomenon.

  • Exploring patterns and determinants of social well-being on immigration cohorts, with a focus on different racial groups.

  • Review the selection process for international students, and evaluate students on criteria more linked to their potential value.

  • Improving client service and communication.

Providing better service and communication to international students in Canada

Among the numerous recommendations of the CIMM, many of them revolved around providing clear and transparent information to clients and stakeholders. This includes an estimate of the processing times and reasons behind refusals. In response to these the IRCC has taken the following actions:

  • Improving processing time by hiring 1,250 new processing staff by late fall 2022 to assist with processing capacity, and publish monthly data on the backlogs.

  • Committing to working with (DLIs) Designated Learning Institutions to implement the collection of enrolment and status information data regarding international students, whereby data elements will be submitted to IRCC from DLI for real-time processing.

  • Expressing interest in continuing with initiatives like the 2022 pilot program wherein immigration officers proactively released their decision notes along with some (TRV) temporary resident visa applications, when the decision is to be made in order to ensure transparency and understanding.

Canada puts greater effort into attracting and retaining international students

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