International students and grads anxious over Yukon Nominee Program pause

International students and grads anxious over Yukon Nominee Program pause
International students and grads anxious over Yukon Nominee Program pause

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الجمعة 24 مايو 2024 10:37 صباحاً

International graduates from Yukon University say that the territorial government's temporary and abrupt pause on the Yukon Nominee Program shows a lack of consideration for international students.

Christy Sibi graduated from the university's Northern Sciences program in 2022. He says the "sudden stop" to the nominee program is a big disadvantage for international students.

"The government should have been supporting the international students," he said. "We don't have a[n immigration] stream for maintaining the students to stay in the Yukon."

The Yukon Government announced last week that it is pausing the Yukon Nominee Program until 2025. The program is designed to help fill labour shortages by expediting the permanent residency process for foreign nationals.

Since January, it had received 590 applications; 107 had been processed and the remaining 483 can expect to wait up to three months for approval. Businesses in the communities are exempt from the pause.

Many international students at Yukon University rely on the program as a pathway to Canadian citizenship. Upon graduation, they can apply for a work permit and after six to 12 months of employment, their employer can file a Yukon Nominee Program application. Once approved, graduates can then apply for permanent residency.

Karan Sidhu, a 2023 Liberal Arts graduate from Yukon University, managed to apply for the Yukon Nominee Program. He is currently awaiting his permanent residency application being processed.

Karan Sidhu, graduated in 2023 from the Liberal Arts program at Yukon University

Karan Sidhu, graduated in 2023 from the Liberal Arts program at Yukon University

Karan Sidhu says the news of the nominee program's pause has made many international students anxious. (Submitted by Karan Sidhu)

Sidhu says the news of the program's pause has drastically changed the atmosphere for international students and has made many of them anxious. Some can see their work permit expiring without knowing whether they need to leave.

For many international students, Sidhu says, the Yukon is a place where they've been building their lives, many of them for years.

"The people are very fed up and they really don't know what to do. They are trying to go to the federal government and they are also trying to go to the nominee office as well, but they are not able to find any answers," Sidhu says.

Sibi has heard from the premier's office since the program was paused, and was assured that it will resume next year. He'd like to see Yukon University graduates prioritized, but he's not optimistic that will happen next year.

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