In this exclusive video interview, Languages Canada Executive Director Gonzalo Peralta is optimistic about Canada’s competitive position in international education. In particular, he speaks to the Canadian government’s decision to:
- revamp its Citizenship and Immigration programme for March 2013;
- invest CDN $5 million in promoting international education in Canada, the effects of which Peralta anticipates will be felt in fall 2012 (see Editor’s Note below).
Peralta also says that Languages Canada will be intensifying its presence in markets such as Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Italy, and Brazil – and that the organisation will be working hard to support its agents and make sure foreign students are both safe and placed in ideal institutions for their goals and situations.
CIC eases amount of time required for eligible students to apply for permanent residency
Peralta’s excitement about the Canadian environment for international education is being bolstered by announcements such as Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC’s) intention to reduce the work experience requirement for eligible temporary foreign workers applying to stay permanently. At the moment, applicants under the temporary foreign worker stream of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must have acquired 24 months of full-time work experience within the last 36 months to apply for permanent residence. The proposed changes would reduce the 24 months to only 12.
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney commented:
“Thousands of highly-skilled foreign nationals are working successfully in Canada on a temporary basis,” said Minister Kenney. “Expediting their transition to permanent residence would help Canada retain bright and talented people who already have Canadian work experience and the ability to communicate in English or French. In many cases, they already have a job lined up. Such newcomers are set for success.”
Key overseas visa and immigration sections closing
Citizen and Immigration Canada has also announced that it will close key visa and immigration sections at its embassies in Germany, Japan, Malaysia, and Bangladesh. According to Study Travel Magazine, “Applicants previously serviced by the Kuala Lumpur office should now send applications to Singapore; applicants serviced by Berlin should send applications to Vienna; and applicants previously serviced by Tokyo should send applications to Manila.”
The magazine noted that there are worries among those in the Canadian international education sector that there will be significant delays in visa processing times, “posing a potential threat to the international education sector.” For its part, CIC says the closures are simply part of its initiative to streamline and modernise operations.
Announced on 19 October 2012, Minister of International Trade Ed Fast awarded more than CDN $2.6M in funding to Languages Canada under the Global Opportunities for Associations Funding Program (GOA) for 2013/2014.
Languages Canada promotes quality English and French language education nationally and internationally and has been a successful GOA applicant for the past seven years.
“GOA funding helped the association increase the export revenue for the Canadian language education sector (ESL and FSL) by almost 10% in the past year and in the process created additional employment opportunities for Canadians and contributed CDN $1.8 billion in export revenues to the economy. This is a clear example of a programme that yields results,” stated Peralta.
In 2011, Languages Canada members welcomed nearly 150,000 international students in its 170 member programmes across the country. Language education in Canada is a strategic and key enabler in education, labour, and immigration.
The GOA provides the financial support that allows associations and their members to expand market penetration and exploration. This in turn has allowed the language education sector to open new markets and create new opportunities in established markets around the world.
Languages Canada received CDN $80,000 through GOA for two packages in the coming year: to promote Canadian French language education through student recruitment fairs and events in Brazil, Mexico and the United States; and to further develop markets in Brazil and Saudi Arabia by organising missions to attract international students to study in Canada.