Call to change Canadian immigration rules for international students

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has called on the government to re-evaluate the way international graduates now apply for permanent residency, stating that the new Express Entry system puts them at a disadvantage.

Through Express Entry, students applying for permanent residency are placed into one pool in direct competition with already skilled and experienced foreign workers. Prior to 1st January, international students did not have to compete with other skilled workers.

In a press release CASA stated their belief that it is unfair to put recently graduated international students in the same pool as top-tier workers, some of whom will have already been working in Canada for years gaining valuable experience. This hinders international students’ ability to integrate and transition into the Canadian labour force, the organisation argues.

Under the current rules, an employer must apply for a labour market impact assessment (LMIA) before hiring a foreign worker. “Our concern is that international students working and studying in Canada are here on permits that don’t require an LMIA,” said Travis Gordon, Board Chair for CASA. “An applicant who has an LMIA will automatically have a leg up over recently graduated international students.”

To counter this CASA has asked Citizenship and Immigration Canada to eliminate the LMIA requirement for those on work permits after graduation. “We ask that the federal government implement policies that better facilitate international students transition to permanent residence,” explained Gordon. “International students provide an important contribution to our culture on campus. Given the opportunity, graduating international students can have a tremendous impact on our economy, so the federal government should be working hard to keep them in Canada.”

CASA is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organisation composed of 22 student associations representing 280,000 post-secondary students.