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IRCC Changes Impacts International Students

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Karla Atanacio, together with the University of Winnipeg Student Association’s Executive President, Tomiris Kaliyeva, and Vice President of Student Affairs, Christine Quiah, expressed their opinion regarding two recent announcements made by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

The first is the increase of the required amount that international students must show they have access to before moving to Canada from $10,000. Before starting January 1, 2024, applicants must show they have access to $20,635 in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. This was followed by a second announcement on January 22 that says Canada is decreasing international student permits for 2024. In 2024, they will only issue 360,00 study permits, which marks a 35 per cent decrease from 2023. 

What are the impacts of these changes on international students, and how does this issue affect the wider community? Atanacio explores the challenges that international students in Canada face and how Canada can support international students in several ways to ensure they have a positive and successful experience during their studies. 

Here are some key measures that Canada can take to support international students: 

  • Financial Assistance: Provide scholarships, grants, and financial aid programs specifically designed for international students to help alleviate the financial burden of tuition fees and living expenses. 
  • Work Opportunities: Expand work permit programs, such as the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), to allow international students to gain valuable work experience in Canada after completing their studies. Streamline processes for obtaining work permits and ensure that students have access to a wide range of employment opportunities. 
  • Healthcare Access: Ensure that international students have access to affordable and comprehensive healthcare services by providing adequate health insurance coverage or extending eligibility for public healthcare programs. 
  • Integration Support: Offer orientation programs, cultural adaptation workshops, and language training to help international students integrate into Canadian society and navigate the challenges of living in a new country. Provide support services, such as counselling and mental health resources, to address the unique needs of international students. 
  • Housing Assistance: Facilitate access to affordable and safe housing options for international students by providing information, resources, and support with housing search, lease agreements, and tenant rights. 
  • Employment Assistance: Establish career development services, job fairs, and networking events to help international students explore career opportunities, build professional networks, and connect with potential employers in Canada. 
  • Immigration Support: Offer immigration advising, workshops, and resources to help international students understand and navigate the immigration process, including study permits, work permits, and pathways to permanent residency. 
  • Community Engagement: Encourage community organizations, volunteer groups, and local businesses to engage with international students and provide opportunities for cultural exchange, social interaction, and community involvement. 
  • Accessibility and Inclusivity: Ensure that educational institutions and support services are accessible and inclusive for international students with disabilities, language barriers, or other special needs. 
  • Advocacy and Representation: Advocate for the rights and interests of international students at the national and provincial levels by collaborating with student organizations, government agencies, and policymakers to address issues such as tuition fees, work restrictions, immigration policies, and healthcare access. 

By implementing these measures and prioritizing the needs of international students, Canada can create a supportive and welcoming environment that promotes their academic success, well-being, and overall satisfaction. 

– Lourdes Federis, U Multicultural

Community Focus: Manitoba Filipino Seniors Group Promoting well-being among both the young and elderly members of the community while preserving Filipino culture is a key aspect of the Filipino Seniors Group of Winnipeg (FSGW). FSGW hosted the first Seniors Sports Fest last March, featuring popular games, including pool, darts, chess and Filipino Sungka. The efforts promoted socialization,Continue Reading

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