Speaking notes for Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Speech

At a News Conference to announce the Student Direct Stream Program 
Markham, Ontario
June 8, 2018

As delivered

Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us at Seneca College today, who have been very kind to us, to host us here this morning.

With more than 7,000 international students currently studying here, Seneca College has a proud history of welcoming international students from around the world.

Before I begin, I’d like to acknowledge that we are on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit and the Haudenosaunee.

The Government of Canada firmly believes that international students benefit our country in many ways. That is why we want to make Canada a destination of choice for those seeking a quality education.

First, we know that international students bring tremendous economic benefits to our country. They contribute approximately $12.8 billion to our Gross Domestic Product and support more than 158,000 jobs. But their contributions to Canada go well beyond that. International students make significant contributions to the schools and the colleges and the universities and the communities in which they reside in. The diverse perspectives that they bring to our classrooms enrich the educational experiences of Canadian students.

International students also strengthen Canada’s people to people ties with many other countries that allow Canada, as a trading nation, to access more markets and build relationships, cultural, educational and otherwise with many other countries and societies.

Take for, example, Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji, who studied at the University of Waterloo before returning to his home country in Nigeria. He’s now the successful CEO of Flutterwave, which is a payment application that is changing the way Africans do business, making it easier for banks and businesses to process payments all across the African continent. The company was acquired by the Canadian Innovation Centre in 2013.

Another example is Miguel Kudry, who arrived in Canada from Venezuela and studied at Douglas College. Mr. Kudry is the founder of HelpHub, a successful platform that connects students with tutors over video and instant messaging and phone calls. HelpHub now has tutors from 65 countries and students from over 1,200 schools, making it a growing global platform. In 2014, Mr. Kudry was named as one of Canada’s future leaders by Maclean’s magazine and Top 30 under 30 by BC Business in 2016. He also has plans underway to launch a new start-up, which will bring mass consumers into digital currencies.

So in many ways, international students are the ideal future Canadians. That’s because they have Canadian postsecondary education and, in many cases, Canadian work experience. They also speak one, if not both, of our official languages. All of which is a recipe for a newcomer’s success in Canada.

For these reasons, the government wants to continue to make it more efficient and easier, and facilitate international students to come and study and, more importantly, to stay in Canada. And increasingly, we’re seeing more international students applying from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam.

To support this growth in applications and to make it easier for these students to apply to come to Canada to study, I’m very pleased to announce today the Student Direct Stream. The Student Direct Stream will provide international students from these four countries with the option to receive faster processing of their student permit application. In order to qualify, international students must meet additional requirements such as demonstrating that they have the financial resources and language skills to succeed academically in Canada.

Also, we’re already working on expanding the Student Direct Stream to Africa and we’re looking at options in Kenya and Senegal. The proposed expansion to Senegal is more in line with our government’s commitment to increase the number of Francophone students coming to study in Canada.

The Government of Canada believes that international students are essential to the success and the growth of our economy and the future prosperity of our country.

And I thank very much Seneca College for hosting us, and I thank all of you for joining us here today. I’ll be pleased to take any of your questions.

Thank you.


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