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    Saturday, July 6, 2024

    Canada, New Zealand, Australia Ends International Students’ Flagpoling

    Adeyemi Matthew 

    Singapore and Canada are the most popular study destinations for Nigerian and other international students.

    Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have implemented new policies that effectively put an end to the practice of “flagpoling” for Nigerian and other international students.

    International students from Nigeria face challenges in pursuing higher education in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand due to recent policy changes. These countries have implemented regulations that restrict international students’ ability to secure employment after graduation and limit offshore visa applications.

    As reported by Financial Express, the recent implementation of border application restrictions in Canada may result in potential delays in the issuance of work permits. This development could have an impact on students’ plans to commence their employment immediately upon graduation.

    The post-graduation work permit (PGWP) enables students who have successfully completed their studies at a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution to acquire valuable Canadian work experience. This experience serves as a stepping stone towards obtaining permanent residency in Canada.

    However, the new legislation has imposed a limitation on this regulation, consequently eliminating the privilege for international student graduates to acquire valuable Canadian work experience.

    In the year 2023, there was a significant increase in the number of international students choosing Canada as their study destination. This surge was largely attributed to the nation's favorable immigration policies, which provided accessible pathways for obtaining work permits and permanent residency. However, a recent policy change has the potential to impact this growth positively by introducing a degree of uncertainty and potential delays during the post-graduation phase.

    The authorities emphasized the significance of facilitating a smooth transition from education to employment for international students. They cautioned that any delays in this process could result in financial strain and the loss of potential job opportunities.

    “The conclusion of the flagpoling practice may result in extended processing times for work permits, potentially disrupting the plans of individuals seeking immediate employment upon graduation. This development could diminish Canada’s appeal as a preferred study destination, impacting its competitive position within the global education market.

    The government, however, advised that students should plan ahead for the post-graduation phase. By taking proactive measures early in their academic careers, students can ensure a smooth transition to the workforce, even if there are delays in obtaining work permits.

    “Participating in career counseling services, attending job fairs, and networking with potential employers throughout their academic journey can offer substantial benefits.

    “Furthermore, it is crucial to maintain up-to-date documentation and closely monitor any policy changes from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to avoid unexpected complications, as advised by the authorities.

    In a similar vein, New Zealand has implemented additional limitations on work visa regulations, specifically targeting certain categories of Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) holders.

    As per the recent announcement published on the Immigration New Zealand website, the updated regulations stipulate that individuals holding Accredited Employer Work Visas (AEWVs) in occupations classified at levels 4 and 5 by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO), and who lack a pathway to residency, are no longer eligible to sponsor work, visitor, or student visa applications for their partners and dependent children.

    “This modification is part of a more extensive series of revisions to the AEWV scheme introduced earlier this year, reverting the settings to those similar to the previous Essential Skills Work Visa.

    It Is important for foreign nationals seeking to pursue their education in this country to be aware that the government permits partners and dependent children of AEWV holders to independently apply for New Zealand visas, including AEWV or international student visas, subject to meeting the requisite criteria.

    “The recently implemented regulatory modifications, effective as of June 26, will not impact the following categories of individuals:

    - Those already in possession of visas as partners or dependent children.

    - Holders of the Australian Employer-Sponsored Visa (AEWV) in Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level 4 and 5 roles with a pathway to residency, including those under the Green List or sector agreements with residence pathways.

    - Individuals earning at least 1.5 times the average salary threshold for the Skilled Migrant Category.

    In Australia, the government has implemented a policy that restricts certain visa holders from applying for student visas while they are physically present in the country. This includes visitor visa holders, temporary graduate visa holders, and other specified visa categories.

    Nevertheless, the Australian government has clarified that student visa applications submitted domestically prior to July 1, 2024, will remain unaffected by this adjustment and will proceed as usual.

    “The government clarified that holders of working holiday maker and work and holiday visas will not be affected by the new policy.

    Following the recent developments, the Australian government has clarified that temporary graduates must leave the country upon visa expiration or explore job opportunities that could lead to employer-sponsored visas or permanent residency if they wish to stay in Australia.

    These modifications, as stated by the government, complement a series of other modifications that will be implemented for temporary graduate visa holders on July 1, 2024.

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

    “Individuals seeking a student visa may apply offshore and travel to Australia to await the visa decision. However, they must possess or obtain a valid visa that permits entry and temporary residence in Australia during this period.

    Additionally, offshore student visa applicants are unable to obtain a bridging visa to remain in Australia during the processing of their application. Under the new regulations, visitor visa holders may continue their studies for a maximum of three months while their visa is valid. Individuals intending to study for periods exceeding three months will be required to apply for a Student visa outside of Australia.

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