On January 1, 2015, new federal rules came into effect that have made immigration to Canada substantially more difficult for international students recently having graduated from Canadian institutions. Permanent resident lawyers agree that the Express Entry Permanent Residency system no longer gives these students an advantage when applying to stay in Canada permanently.
Before these rules came into effect, international students, alongside their permanent resident lawyers, could follow a path to permanent residence that did not require their employer to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Once graduated from a Canadian college or university, these international students could acquire an open work permit, allowing them to gain experience in the Canadian labour market before applying for permanent residency. After at least one year of Canadian work experience they became eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Class with the help of a permanent resident lawyer.
Previous to the launch of Express Entry, eligible candidates could apply directly to the program, often with assistance from a permanent resident lawyer; now, students are placed in a pool with other skilled workers, and, using a points based system, Citizenship and Immigration Canada draws only certain individuals from this pool to apply for permanent residence.
Though it would seem that immigrants to Canada having obtained an education at a Canadian institution would be a perfect fit for the Canadian workforce, the difficulty lies in these candidates’ ability to obtain a positive LMIA. A large number of points (600 out of 12,000) are allocated to individuals with a job offer from a Canadian employer, or a nomination from a Canadian province, but in order for the job offer to qualify, the employer has to obtain a positive LMIA. How can an international student, having just completed his or her program of study, prove that there is no other Canadian worker available to do the job in question, with so little work experience?
Another problem lies in the fact that in addition to competing against other graduates from Canadian Universities, these students are also competing against other potential immigrants to Canada with years more experience. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that the kinds of applicants most likely to be chosen for employment from within this pool of applicants are not recent college graduates with little to no Canadian work experience. It’s far more likely that a candidate with several years’ work experience in a jurisdiction similar to Canada’s will be selected for employment.
These new regulations are not only changing the criteria for immigrants in Canada, but ultimately changing the narrative of the country. Previously, many international students chose to enroll in Canadian postsecondary institutions because of the ease of transition to permanent residency after graduation. Going forward, we may see these same applicants choosing to go to countries like Australia, the U.K. or the United States.
We have successfully assisted individuals with their work permits, provincial nominations, and numerous permanent residency categories. If you require assistance in applying for this new permanent residency category, be sure to contact your Ottawa immigration lawyers.