The future prospects of international students who hope to stay in Canada after completing their studies just got a little brighter.
Earlier this year, Ottawa announced that international graduates of a Canadian university can stay for three years without an employment offer.
Previously, to apply for a postgrad work permit, international students had to find employment in their area of study within 90 days of completing their degree. Canada permitted graduates working in Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal to stay for one year and those who found a job outside these major centres to stay for two years.
University of Toronto officials, who lobbied for the change, said the new rule will give Canadian universities acompetitive edge over universities in other countries. The U.S., for example, limits the type of employment graduates may seek and allows them to stay for only one year after graduating.
The government also introduced a measure that allows international graduates to achieve permanent residence status from within Canada, rather than having to leave first to apply.
U of T wants to attract more graduate students, and part of this enrolment growth will come from abroad. Any measure that makes Canadian universities more attractive vis-a-vis their counterparts in other countries should help U of T’s graduate recruitment drive.
Heather Kelly, director of Student Services at the School of Graduate Studies, says international students and employers are already praising the new rules. “Graduate students say that employers are more willing to talk to them about potential positions,” she says.
Jeff Muzzerall, director of the Corporate Connections Centre at the Rotman School of Management, was one of several U of T staff who helped bring about the changes. Last year, Muzzrall wrote to a contact in government and outlined the constraints that the regulations imposed on students and suggested how to remove them. He says he’s thrilled with the results. “The government exceeded all our expectations. We want the best and the brightest from around the world to study in Canada.”