• Saturday, July 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Canada, New Zealand, Australia ends Nigeria’s, other international students’ ‘flagpoling’

Singapore, Canada top destinations for Nigerian, other international students

Nigerians seeking to pursue education goals in Canada, Australia and/or New Zealand are faced with tough times as the countries have rolled out laws meant to stop international students from getting jobs after graduation and offshore visa application.

According to financial express, Canada’s new border application ban could lead to delays in obtaining work permits, affecting students’ ability to start their jobs right after graduation.

The post-graduate work permit (PGWP) allows students who have graduated from a participating Canadian post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which in turn helps a student become a permanent resident of Canada.

However, the new law has put a restriction to this rule, hence, removing the right for international students’ graduates to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

In 2023, the number of international students in Canada surged, driven by the country’s accessible pathways to work and residency. The new policy could dampen this growth by introducing uncertainty and delays into the post-graduation phase.

The authorities highlighted how important it is for international students to transit from education to employment, and pointed out that delays in this process can lead to financial stress and missed job opportunities.

“The end of flagpoling means longer wait times for work permits, potentially disrupting plans to begin working right after graduation. This could make Canada less attractive as a study destination, affecting its competitiveness in the global education market,” it stated.

The government however counseled that students must adapt by preparing well in advance for the post-graduation phase. Starting early in their educational journey, students can take proactive steps to ensure a seamless transition to the workforce, despite potential delays in obtaining work permits.

Read also: Singapore, Canada top destinations for Nigerian, other international students

“Engaging in career counseling services, attending job fairs, and connecting with potential employers during their studies can provide significant advantages.

“Additionally, maintaining updated documentation and closely monitoring any policy updates from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) can prevent unforeseen complications,” the authorities noted.

Similarly, New Zealand has introduced further restrictions on work visa rules, targeting specific categories of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders.

According to an announcement on the Immigration New Zealand website the new regulations, individuals holding AEWVs in jobs classified at levels 4 and 5 by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), and without a pathway to residency, can no longer sponsor work, visitor, or student visa applications for their partners and dependent children.

“This change is part of a broader suite of amendments to the AEWV scheme introduced earlier this year, reverting the settings to those similar to the previous Essential Skills Work Visa,” the statement reads.

Foreigners who intend to study in the country should know that the government allows partners and dependent children of AEWV holders to apply independently for New Zealand visas, such as AEWV or international student visas, provided they meet the necessary requirements.

“The new rules which already took effect on June 26, will not affect: Individuals already holding visas as partners or dependent children. AEWV holders in ANZSCO level 4 and 5 roles with a pathway to residency, such as those under the Green List or sector agreements with residence pathways, and individuals earning at least 1.5 times the average salary threshold for the Skilled Migrant Category,” the statement reads in part.

In Australia, it is a similar scenario, as the government has directed that all visitor visa holders, temporary graduate visa holders and other specified visa holders cannot apply for student visas while they are in Australia.

However, the Australian authorities said that student visa applications lodged in the country before July 1, 2024 will not be affected by this change and will be processed.

“Holders of working holiday maker and work and holiday visas will also be not be impacted,” the government said.

Consequent to the new development, the Australian government has made it clear that temporary graduates should depart the countryt at the end of their visa or consider job opportunities that might lead to employer-sponsored visas or permanent residency if they want to remain in Australia.

These changes, the government say, support a range of other changes that are being implemented for temporary graduate visa holders on July 1, 2024.

“These include significantly shorter post-study work rights, reduced age limits from 50 to 35 years of age, and increased English Language requirements which were implemented in March.

“One can apply for their student visa offshore and travel to Australia to wait for the outcome of their visa application. However, they need to hold or be granted a visa that allows them to enter and remain in Australia for that time.

Also, offshore student visa applicants cannot get a bridging visa to stay in Australia while waiting for their application to be processed. According to the new rules, visitor visa holders may continue to study for up to three months while holding their visa. Those intending to study for periods longer than three months will need to apply for a Student visa outside Australia.”