Canada: remove “barriers” to PSW, says CASA

Published 17/12/2018

The Canadian Alliance of Students Associations presented recommendations to improve the immigration system for international students to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration last week.

CASA was one of the organisations providing evidence for the committee’s study on migration challenges and opportunities for Canada in the 21st century, which was launched in September.

With international students “crucial” in addressing skills shortages, the government should remove administrative and regulatory barriers that may prevent students from finding jobs and staying in Canada after graduation, CASA board chair Adam Brown explained to the committee.

“A diverse and cosmopolitan post-secondary experience…is instrumental in preparing Canada’s students to work in an increasingly global community”

A six-month window to look for employment post-graduation, participation into work experience programs and internships without an additional work permit and a relaxation of the rules that prevent post-secondary staff from giving immigration advice were the key recommendations CASA proposed.

“In Canada it takes an average of five months to find a job after graduation,” Brown said, arguing for a longer post-graduation window of opportunity.

“Students have just 90 days after graduation to find a job and apply for a permit. This timeframe is not reflective of the current workforce reality or of the fact that many other life challenges occur post-graduation.”

The requirement for post-secondary staff to obtain a certificate, which entails 300 hours and approximately $2,000 to be allowed to give immigration advice, leaves many international students without access to migration information on campus, Brown added.

“Not all institutions can afford this commitment of time and resources,” he said, adding that institution should be exempt from the requirement.

These are key issues that CASA has identified and has been pushing forward in a recent policy paper and another advocacy event in Parliament last month.

Brown made a passionate argument for the importance of international students for the Canadian society, beyond their economic contribution.

“A diverse and cosmopolitan post-secondary experience, enhanced by the presence of international students, is instrumental in preparing Canada’s students to work in an increasingly global community,” he said.

Brown’s full address to the Committee can be seen here.

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