As is plain and obvious from the above links, documenting and reporting on the true scale of replacement migration into Canada is a priority. This includes programs which are sold to the public as “temporary”, but which include pathways to permanent residence.
This article explores the concept of “ghost students”, people who come to Canada on student visas, but whom have other ideas and intentions all along.
3. Vancouver Sun Article
The StatsCan study, by Marc Frenette, Yuquian Lu and Winnie Chan, echoes the findings of an internal Immigration Department report that revealed 25 per cent of would-be foreign students in Canada in 2018 were likely not complying with the conditions of their visa or were just not being monitored by school administrators.
The high no-show rate comes as there is a rising trend toward “edu-immigration” to Canada. Many foreign nationals are being encouraged by immigration agents to use Canada’s study permits to gain a relatively easy foothold in the country to find work, through which they can try to obtain permanent resident status.
One of the disquieting findings in the StatsCan report is that 2015’s rate was an improvement over previous years: In 2009, only half of study-permit holders were signed up with a school.
When Postmedia asked Statistics Canada why such a large proportion of would-be foreign students appear to be avoiding studying, officials said the authors of the report were not permitted to directly answer Postmedia’s questions.
The study concluded that about one in four study-visa holders in Canada eventually gain permanent resident status. But beyond such data, the authors said, “Little is known about international students in Canada.”
Hyman, the immigration lawyer, says there is no doubt many study-permit holders come to Canada essentially to work and not to study.
The Vancouver Sun article gets into many uncomfortable truths, namely a large number of people with student visas are not enrolled in Canadian schools. Either they have left, or never intended to study in the first place.
It also outlines the lack of oversight and enforcement going on within the school systems and the Immigration Ministry. Why allow so many “students”? The schools need the money. They have big obligations.
The Sun article cites this StatsCan paper, which states that 30% of people on student visas are not actually enrolled, while in 2009, almost 50% were not enrolled.
The Sun article (I believe) references this StatsCan publication that estimates that 20-27% of students on visa get their permanent residence status within 10 years. Even if it is only about a quarter of students, which seems very low, that is still a very real path to permanent residence.
4. StatsCan Research On Ghosts
The IMDB contains information on all temporary and permanent residents since 1980. For the purposes of this study, only the information on temporary residents was used. Specifically, the number of valid postsecondary study permit holders was generated to compare it with the actual number of international students enrolled in postsecondary programs based on data from PSIS, which contains program information for all students enrolled in Canadian public postsecondary institutions. Immigration status is listed in PSIS because postsecondary institutions are allowed to charge international students higher tuition fees than Canadian students, and this information is collected annually. Three groups were analyzed separately in this study: Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and student visa or permit holders (international students). The T1FF is a census of all Canadian taxfilers and their spouses and children. It contains detailed income information as well as basic demographics. The information on T4 wages and salaries in the T1FF was of particular interest in this study.
The study found that approximately 69.5% of postsecondary study permit holders actually enrolled in a postsecondary program in 2015—up from 51.8% in 2009. Between 2009 and 2015, the number of international postsecondary students nearly doubled. This resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of postsecondary students who were international students (from 6.6% in 2009 to 11.3% in 2015). International students enrolled in university bachelor’s degree programs accounted for about half of this increase. Although a smaller proportion of international students enrolled in college diploma programs, this was the fastest-growing group—accounting for 19.8% of international students in 2015, compared with 12.0% in 2009. In general, international students were more likely to be enrolled in university graduate programs and in higher-paying fields than Canadian students.
The research concludes, that large numbers of people on student visas are not actually enrolled in a Canadian school. While it is true that some people could have stayed home or gone elsewhere, student visas are cancelled if the person changes their mind. So the obvious question: where are these people, and what are they doing?
One of the reasons why international students were less likely to be employed than Canadian students might be because of the rules governing international students’ right to work. Prior to June 1, 2014, international students had to obtain a permit to work off campus and had to study for a period of at least six months before doing so. As of June 1, 2014, these rules are no longer in place, which may result in higher international student employment rates in the future.
Yes, the rules have been relaxed, and that means more and more students are “students” will be working while in school. Sort of a no brainer.
In the future, linking the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) data with postsecondary and taxation data could open new opportunities for research on international students. First, the IMDB could be used to disaggregate the results of this study by country of citizenship. Second, the relationship between educational experience and the transition to permanent residency could be explored. Third, international students may transition to a post-graduation work permit after completing their studies—future research could examine whether this type of work permit is associated with superior labour market outcomes and an increased propensity to transition to permanent residency.
These last remarks are from the conclusion. It seems to around the obvious, that student visas are a pathway to permanent residence. There is the Provincial Nominee Program, Atlantic Pilot Project, and other such options Even if not right away, the Post Graduate Work Program is one possibility to get PR at a later date.
5. StatsCan On Transitioning To PR
Every year, tens of thousands of international students from all over the world are attracted to Canada to pursue educational opportunities. Since the 1990s, Canada has experienced rapid growth in its numbers of international students. Together with temporary foreign workers and International Experience Canada, international students are one of the three classes of temporary economic residents that are admitted to Canada. According to a strategic plan released in early 2014, the Canadian government hopes to attract 450,000 international students by 2022, which will double the number of international students currently studying in the country.
The large inflow of international students provides Canada with a large pool of well-educated individuals from which to select permanent residents. Among temporary foreign residents who obtained a study permit between 1990 and 2014, more than 270,000 (19%) became permanent residents by 2014. Additional measures to attract highly educated international students and facilitate their transition to eventual immigration were added in the late 2000s, when Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) permitted international students to seek work opportunities and acquire the skilled work experience required to apply for permanent residence.
It is confirmed by StatsCan, what has been said on this site for months. Students are not “temporary” migration, but rather there are intentional pathways to permanent residence built in.
And StatsCan also confirms what is in those Annual Reports to Parliament. There are 3 main “temporary” migration programs. But let’s be honest, they aren’t really temporary.
International Mobility Program
Temporary Foreign Worker Program
6. Stating The Obvious On Student Visas
Why aren’t people on student visas showing up for class? Probably, that in a lot of these cases, being a student was never the goal, or at least not a high priority. In such cases, the goal is remaining in Canada, and being a student just the excuse.
That being said, even those who do attend Canadian schools have legitimate ways to remain in Canada. In fact, our government passes laws and regulations that encourage it. There are immediate ways to become a permanent resident, or one can simply obtain a 3 year visa from the Post Graduate Work Program.
Unfortunately, there is little data available on who actually leaves Canada once a student visa is no longer valid. Until 2016, the Federal Government did not even track who was leaving the country, only those entering.
Canadians are duped into believing that programs are temporary. They are not.
So where are all of these “ghost” students? What are they doing these days? How many of them are still in the country? Good questions, but our government has few answers.