Below are the latest immigration updates from the United States and Canada.
- ICE raids fail to meet expectations in the U.S.
- Trump: Chinese students are welcome in the U.S.
- Canadian recruiters scam students out of thousands of dollars.
- Quebec introduces new, faster residency application process.
Read on for more about each of these important news items affecting immigrants and international students coming to North America.
ICE Raids Scheduled to Continue in the U.S.
In May, U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to deport “millions” of immigrants through a series of Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) raids. The first phase of this initiative was postponed at the request of congressional Democrats. They were scheduled to resume over the weekend. Immigrant families and legal experts prepared for the anticipated surge of activity by ICE.
However, the weekend was quieter than expected, with ICE agents seen approaching individuals in NYC, but very few reported arrests. Politicians are questioning whether or not the ICE raids were primarily meant as both a scare tactic for immigrant families and a rallying cry for conservatives in support of reelecting Trump.
Immigration advocates worry that the raids could have an especially devastating effect on families with mixed immigration status, potentially separating parents from their children. Now, the psychological toll of these on-again, off-again announcements is also raising concerns.
Fewer Arrests of Undocumented Migrants
Last month, the number of arrests made to undocumented migrants declined for the first time in 2019. Arrests fell to 104,344 in June. This is a 28 percent drop from the previous month, when arrests reached a 13-year high. There are many factors that could be causing this decline, according to experts.
Top reasons for the decline in arrests include:
- Seasonal influence, with a tendency for border crossings to decline in the hot summer months
- Greater cooperation from Mexico, with security forces south of the border stepping up enforcement
Trump: Chinese Students Are Welcome in the U.S.
At last month’s G-20 summit in Japan, U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to soften his administration’s hard stance toward welcoming international students from China. He expressed a desire for “more Chinese students” to enter the United States and floated the idea of a “smart person’s waiver” that would allow high performers to stay and work in the U.S. after graduation.
This comment comes in the midst of mounting concerns about work permit delays for foreign students. The wait period for Optional Practical Training (OPT) work permits is now as long as five months. This difficulty in finding work after graduation, and the uncertainty international students face during long wait periods, may be dissuading new students from studying abroad in the U.S.
Chinese Students May Already Be Avoiding the U.S.
Numerous surveys and interviews suggest that the political and immigration environment has already pushed Chinese students to pursue overseas education outside of the United States. For example, there has been a 30 percent growth in Chinese student applications to the United Kingdom in 2019. Growth has also been experienced elsewhere, including a 5.5 percent increase of Chinese students in Germany.
However, Miao Lu, secretary general of Beijing’s Centre for China and Globalisation, stated, “The U.S. is still the biggest destination for Chinese students, and U.S. higher education has been best known for its openness and tolerance.”
Experts continue to highlight similar trends for other sender nations, most prominently India. For example, Germany also saw a 13 percent surge in international students from India in 2018.
International Students Tricked by Canadian Recruiters
An investigation has revealed that large numbers of international students were tricked into enrolling in private Canadian colleges by unscrupulous recruitment agents. These recruiters falsely promised that certain classes and programs would help students obtain permanent residency.
- Only the Canadian government is able to make or affect immigration decisions
- Pathways to permanent residency are not easy, common, or guaranteed upon graduation from a college or university program in Canada
- All criteria for residency must be met regardless of university credits
In return for their “help,” recruiters earned tens of thousands of dollars per student. Students say that they were not actually interested in or did not plan to attend these classes, they were only interested in the promise of residency outcomes upon graduation. At least 2,000 people were affected by the predatory recruitment strategies.
Record Number of ITAs Issued for Express Entry
Through the first half of 2019, Canada issued immigrants a total of 41,800 invitations to apply (ITAs) for permanent residence. This is one of highest numbers on record since Canada’s Express Entry system was first introduced in January 2015. Industry observers believe that that number could be surpassed in the second half of the year.
Business Leaders Calling for More Migrant Workers
In the run-up to the federal election this fall, business leaders are calling for increased immigration to meet the economy’s growing demand for workers. Canada’s unemployment rate currently stands at 5.5 percent.
Quebec: 3-Step Process to Streamline Residency for Skilled Workers
In June, Quebec’s Immigration Minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, announced a three-step process intended to streamline residency for skilled immigrants. It prioritizes residency for those already living in Quebec, as well as skilled immigrants who are willing to live and work outside of major metropolitan areas and applicants with an existing job offer. Quebec is now accepting applications through an online portal called Arrima. Read all about the new opportunity here.
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