In the year 2023, Canada experienced a remarkable surge in immigration, playing a pivotal role in addressing the country’s demographic and workforce needs. Notably, the nation granted permanent residency to more than 62,000 international students, marking a substantial increase from the previous year.
A significant portion of the newcomers who secured permanent residency in 2023 were former international students who initially arrived in Canada on study visas. These students, upon completing their programs, had the opportunity to qualify for Canadian permanent residence (PR).
Statistics and Trends
As of November 2023, data from the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) unveiled that 62,410 international students or graduates successfully transitioned to permanent residents of Canada. This represented a noteworthy uptick of 9,670 from the preceding year, according to CIC News.
Dominance of Indian Applicants
Despite a 4% decline in permits issued to Indian students due to diplomatic tensions, Indians constituted the largest group among those seeking permanent residency.
PR Through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
The majority of these students secured permanent residency by gaining valuable work experience post-graduation, facilitated by the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
Additionally, 23,150 international students obtained PR directly after graduation through specific Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams for international graduates, as per Canadian government data.
Impact on Housing and Living Costs
Despite ongoing discussions about potential caps on international student arrivals amid a housing crisis, the numbers remained substantial. IRCC data reflects continued growth, raising concerns about the impact on housing affordability and living costs.
Government’s Consideration of Reforms
Canada’s demographic growth is significantly influenced by foreign students, non-permanent residents, and temporary foreign workers. Immigration Minister Marc Miller acknowledged the challenges and expressed the government’s consideration of reforms, including potential caps on non-permanent resident intake.
However, concerns have been raised about the economic repercussions of limiting the entry of temporary workers and foreign students. A Canadian financial service firm warned that such restrictions could hinder Canada’s economic recovery, potentially causing a 0.7% drop in real GDP in 2024 and slower growth over the following four years, according to Canadian Immigration.
Express Entry Program as the Fastest Pathway
Amid these considerations, the Express Entry Program emerged as the fastest pathway for international students to transition to Canadian permanent residence.
Despite challenges and ongoing discussions, as of 2023, approximately 330,000 new immigrants and students from India were living in Canada, contributing to the diverse and dynamic landscape of the country.
The impact of immigration on Canada’s demographics, workforce, and economy continues to be a subject of careful consideration and potential reforms.
(With Inputs From CIC News)