Canada announces changes to fast immigration stream for top students

by Ray Clancy on September 24, 2012

CEC offers a pathway to permanent residency for international student graduates

Canada’s immigration stream aimed at attracting the world’s best and brightest skilled workers is being hailed a success and changes mean it will be more flexible and streamlined.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) immigration stream reflects the success of the government’s efforts to attract and retain the best possible people.

The CEC is Canada’s fastest growing economic immigration programme. It offers a pathway to permanent residency for international student graduates as well as others with skilled work experience in Canada.

Those who are eligible may apply from within Canada and expect a quick decision. In the past, a brilliant student graduating from top universities who wanted to stay in Canada and help create jobs would have had to return to their home country to wait at the back of a seven or eight year queue.

They may have spent several years waiting in the immigration queue and may have been required to leave the country before applying for permanent residence. The goal of the CEC is to ensure that Canada retains talented and motivated people who have already shown that they can put their skills as well as their experience to work, grow the Canadian economy, create jobs and integrate easily into Canadian life.

Now changes are set to make it even faster. Some applicants currently require 24 months of full time work experience but now all applicants will require 12 months of Canadian work experience gained in the 36 months preceding their application.

Kenney said that this change will make the programme more flexible for international student graduates and provide them with more time to launch their careers as well as gain the necessary experience to apply for permanent residency through the programme.

‘International student graduates have educational credentials that are recognised by Canadian employers as well as official language skills that are important factors for success. The proposed changes to the CEC will make it easier for them to stay here, contribute to Canadian innovation as well as to the economic development that will help ensure Canada’s future prosperity,’ he added.

Gaurav Gore, originally from India, has been recognised as the 20,000th permanent resident admitted under the CEC. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Toronto and is now a business consultant with a major bank in Toronto.

‘We are working hard to attract and retain the best and brightest students from around the world. Gaurav is an excellent example of the benefits of welcoming highly educated and skilled people to stay as well as work in Canada,’ said Kenney.

‘He completed a challenging, competitive university programme. He is now building a successful career, contributing to our economy and helping create jobs for Canadians here in Canada. Guarav is exactly the sort of skilled worker that Canada hopes to attract and retain through the CEC program,’ he added.

Canada’s universities are pleased to see the success of the CEC in helping international student graduates become permanent residents, said Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

‘The graduates contribute their knowledge, talent and global perspectives to our communities and to our economy. These graduates contribute to economic growth and innovation in Canada and help Canadian businesses connect with new international markets,’ he added.

The programme responds to the needs of employers and contributes to economic growth, according to James Knight, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.

‘Equipped with diplomas as well as degrees, international students become Canadian citizens, excellent employees and community members,’ he added.

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