By Saifullah Muhammad, Spoke News
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, says Canada is one of the most generous countries for international students and the new immigration system benefits them in several ways.
During a talk in Waterloo last Thursday night, Hussen also addressed the important economic and social benefits of retaining international students.
“We allow international students to work while the classes are open for up to 20 hours a week and when the school is [on] breaks in the school system, like summer and Christmas, they are allowed to work full time.
“We allow them to access the post graduate work permit which allows them to work up to three years after graduation, which incidentally qualifies them to apply for the permanent residency. So we are very facilitated to international students,” Hussen said while speaking at the event, hosted by the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, in partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo.
International students are statistically proven to be among the best candidates for immigration due to their high levels of quality education and language skills in Canada.
“We are the first government in Canadian history to look at potential international students around the world to tell them not only come and stay in Canada, we tell them… ‘we want you to stay’, because they make great Canadian citizens.
“They are eager, they are young, they speak English and French or both and they are educated in Canada. So why wouldn’t we want to hang on to them?” Hussen said.
According to Hussen, the challenges announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada also reduced the time required for a permanent resident to physically be in Canada prior to applying for citizenship from four years out of six to three years out of five.
When asked about the struggle of international students to find housing and that some complained they felt stretched by the high cost of transit, Hussen referred to the national housing strategy on housing targets and outcomes and how it promised that 100,000 new affordable housing units would be built and another 300,000 existing affordable housing units repaired.
“It will invest tens of billions of dollars in the next few years for all forms of housing, from temporary housing to affordable housing and [it will add] $25 billion in transit, which will hopefully enable access to some of the services,” he added.
Currently there are 7,000 international students studying this fall across all Conestoga campuses in a variety of programs, both full-time and part-time.