Announced 14 November 2016, Canada’s government introduces some changes to the Canada Express Entry programme which would allow more international student graduates from Canadian institutions to transition to permanent residency. The Express Entry system bears a number of similarities to the Australian points system, where applicants with higher scores are skimmed from a pool of candidates.

International graduates of Canadian institutions will be awarded 15 points for having completed their one to two year courses, whilst those who have completed degrees at undergraduate or postgraduate levels will receive 30 points. The maximum points that can be awarded for a qualified job offer has taken a massive dip from a maximum of 600 points to a maximum of 200.

In the grand scheme of things, 15 or 30 points is not as significant as we would hope; there is a total of 1,200 points up for grabs. The awarded points for international graduates has only been bumped up by 2 and 5 points for one to two year courses and undergraduate and postgraduate courses respectively. Simply being within the age bracket of 20 to 29 already puts 110 points in the basket. We won’t argue that every point counts.

The intention of giving an increased weightage to international students who have graduated from Canadian institutions might be a bigger win than its execution. If this is reflective of the government and people’s attitudes towards welcoming (inexperienced/less experienced) internationals, its says “integrated” matters, not just “skilled” (economy).


“We’re doing this to bring a better balance to the system, evening the playing field so to speak, and making it easier for many highly skilled, highly educated candidates with good language skills and expertise, but without job offers, to get an invitation to apply… When I think of the best group in the world that would make the best future Canadians, the group that comes first to my mind is international students.”

Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship


These new changes are to come into effect on 19 November 2016. To learn more about the changes to the Canadian immigration system, read Canada eases path to permanent residency for international students