Education policy change: Canada bolstered as contender for international talent

Canada’s silent policy change
Photo by joesflickr

In a world where the hunt for talent is fierce and is intensifying, it is crucial for Canada to position itself as a destination of choice for the brightest minds to remain competitive globally. With the integration of many eastern European countries into the EU and with increased internal competition for skill in countries like India and China, many desirable candidates no longer look to Canada as a choice for advancement. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States have been long engaged in this battle for talent. With an aging workforce and population growth coming predominantly from immigration, it is important for Canada not only to attract but also retain the right minds.

Recent changes in regulations governing the post-graduation work permit for international students hope to achieve exactly this. The changes in regulations will now allow students from abroad to work up to three years anywhere in Canada following graduation (as opposed to one year previously). Additionally, the new permit is not employer specific and a job offer is not mandatory. These amendments set Canada apart from other competing countries because these students can now better negotiate the post graduation employment landscape.

Previously, students with skills either chose to take up an offer not aligned with their interests and skill sets, or even worse, many exited the country when unable to secure a desirable offer under stifling rules. By taking their talent back to their home countries, these students are in effect competing with Canadian workers and firms. With these favorable changes in international student employment regulations, many such bright students will now be able to work in roles that are better aligned with their interests right here in Canada. This in turn will lead to more innovation and some of these students will create even more value by moving on to become successful entrepreneurs.

With a strong and open economy, world-class institutions and a highly educated and diverse population, Canada can successfully differentiate itself from the competition. The people at the Ministry of Immigration have taken the coming skills shortage seriously and have silently helped position the country appropriately in the battle for the best minds. Let’s put our hands together to show them some appreciation.

Canada beckons the Andrew Groves and Sergey Brins of the world.