How Canadian schools are responding to the growing numbers of international students

Free beds, more spaces in classrooms, and public forums on how to make life easier for international students

Canadian post-secondary institutions are boasting about the number of international students coming through their doors, and some are even calling for more.

International students help Canadian universities and colleges expand their programs, and supplement their revenues. They also help to promote diversity on campuses, enriching the post-secondary experience for all students.

Canada made it easier for international students to pursue their education in the country by expanding its Student Direct Stream (SDS) to three additional nations in 2019: Senegal, Morocco, and Pakistan. The SDS program allows students from these countries, plus China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam to receive study permits in as little as 20 days.

Canada’s international student population has doubled since 2012 to over 570,000 students in 2018.

This significant growth means there are more settlement and integration needs to be met. International students may face loneliness, financial hardship, or difficulty finding work in Canada.

Last week, the University of Windsor in the province of Ontario hosted a forum on how to better support international students, including helping them in their job search and in obtaining permanent residency.

“It’s really important for the future of Canada that we continue to increase the number of international students and that they have positive experiences and contribute to the Canadian economy and Canadian society,” Paul Davidson, president of Universities Canada, told the Windsor Star.

On Canada’s east coast, the Rotaract Club at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia is offering free beds to international students.

The mattresses will go to 47 students who live off-campus.

The project is aimed at those who come to Canada and cannot afford to buy basic furnishings, the Canadian Press reports.

On the other side of the country, Red Deer College in Red Deer, Alberta is looking to attract 500 new international students, according to Black Press Media. Currently, they have 200 enrolled. They will focus on recruiting international students into their business, early childhood education, and engineering technology programs.

Express Entry for international students

Many international students seek permanent residence after completing their education in Canada. According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 60 per cent of international students plan to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Canadian education can help international students in their application for permanent residence through the federal Express Entry system.

Express Entry manages the pool of immigration candidates for the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Worker Program, and the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

Once a candidate is determined to be eligible for Express Entry they are given a Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score based on human capital factors such as age, work experience, language ability and —of course— education.

The highest-scoring candidates are issued an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for Canadian permanent residence through regular Express Entry draws.

Those with Canadian post-secondary education may receive up to 30 additional points towards their overall score.

In 2018, 25 per cent of those who received ITAs were former international students.

Why international students choose Canada

International students choose Canada due to its reputation as a tolerant and multicultural society, as well as the strong quality of education offered by its universities and colleges, according to CBIE research.

There are a number of advantages to pursuing education in Canada. In addition to obtaining additional points under Express Entry, international students are also eligible for permanent residence through the many International Graduate streams offered by provinces and territories across the country. These streams fall under the Provincial Nominee Program and by the province of Quebec through its Quebec Experience Program.

The Canadian government reports that international students who become permanent residents have strong employment and wage outcomes.

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