According to Statistics Canada research, overseas students have become a more important source of labour in the Canadian economy during the last decade. According to the recent Statistics Canada research, the large growth in the number of international students coming to Canada in recent years has resulted in greater involvement in the PGWP.
According to the report, the number of first-time study permit holders in Canada has increased over the last decade, from roughly 75,000 in the mid-2000s to 250,000 in 2019. In line with this trend, an increasing number of overseas students have enrolled in the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) and earned a work permit after graduation.
The PGWPP is a temporary worker programme that allows international students who have graduated from Canadian post-secondary schools to get an open work permit that will enable them to stay and work in Canada. Candidates must have completed an eight-month programme of study at an accredited Canadian institution to be eligible for the programme.
The permission is then granted for the duration of the finished study programme, up to a maximum of three years. As an open work permit, the post-graduation work visa permits overseas graduates to work in any occupation in Canada and to change employers at any time.
According to the survey, the yearly number of new Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders surged sixfold from 2008 to 2018, from 10,300 to 64,700. This rise was found for both men and women, despite the fact that males accounted for a greater share of PGWP holders over the same time period.
Since 2008, China and India have accounted for 51 percent of all PGWP holders, but by 2018, these two source nations accounted for 66 percent of all issued PGWPs. Furthermore, overseas students from India saw their representation more than double, rising from 10% in 2008 to 46% in 2018. China had the opposite trend, with a drop from 41 percent to 20 percent during the same time period.
In 2008, Ontario had the highest percentage of overseas students as a work destination, at 44 percent, which has since climbed to 56 percent in 2018. Conversely, between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of people planning to visit British Columbia and Quebec, the other two most popular destinations, declined.
In terms of PGWP holders' labour-force involvement, the report indicates that in 2008, a total of 10,300 PGWP holders filed positive T4 tax returns. By 2018, this figure had risen to 135,100. In addition, according to the data, the median wages of PGWP holders with job income climbed from $14,500 (in 2018 USD) in 2008 to $26,800 in 2018, showing higher input in the labour market.
The survey also discovered that nearly three-quarters of all PGWP holders moved to permanent residence within five years after acquiring their PGWP. In addition, transition rates for college and master's level programmes were greatest among PGWP holders, particularly among the most recent cohorts. The report finds that these data show the relevance of the PGWPP to both international students and the Canadian economy.
"On the one hand, the PGWPP permits overseas students who have graduated from a recognized Canadian post-secondary school to get work experience in Canada, which can offer the requisite working experience for several permanent residence streams."
The PGWPP bridges the gap between a Canadian education and in-country job experience, increasing the likelihood of securing Canadian permanent residency through the federal Express Entry system. Express Entry candidates with a Canadian degree and work experience score better on the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), enhancing their chances of acquiring permanent resident status. Other immigration streams that favour applicants with a Canadian degree and work experience include the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ) for individuals who have studied in Quebec.
In a larger sense, as the research points out, "the PGWPP enables international students' contributions to the Canadian labour market, enhances the pool of eligible candidates for future immigration, and works to make Canada a more desirable study destination."
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