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Canada's Study Permit Lifted: C$40m Education Finance Platform

clock iconCreated At:04 July, 2023
write iconCreated By:Reem Mohamed

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Temporary rules to open training and education opportunities to individuals on work visas have been announced in Canada recently, which coincided with the launch of a new company offering financial assistance for immigrants to study. 

A new venture with the aim to help immigrants in Canada with the financial solutions required to access critical jobs in the country has been revealed by a former CEO of ApplyBoard. 

Led by Martin Basiri, who started ApplyBoard in 2015 with his brothers Massi and Meti, Passage has attracted C$40 million (US$30m) in seed funding, making it one of the biggest seed funding raises ever in Canada.

This was launched in Toronto at the Collision Tech Conference on the same day when the government announced a temporary measure that removes the existing limit on the length of the study programmes that temporary foreign workers can enrol on without needing a study permit. 

Sean Fraser, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, said that the three-year temporary measure, which is set to begin immediately, will allow foreign workers to study while working on courses lasting more than six months.

A separate study permit for longer courses will no longer be needed by those individuals. This means, according to the government, that they will get a chance to improve their education, receive more training, or upskill or validate their foreign credentials.

“With this policy in place, we hope to empower foreign nationals to improve their skills in order to meet their career goals and achieve their dreams, while providing a future potential source of talent for our labour market,” said Fraser.

He went on to highlight that this would allow foreign-trained doctors and nurses to support Canada’s healthcare system, as well as allow construction labourers to become tradespersons and build new homes by providing them with new paths. 

“This immigration measure helps employers, workers, and our economy by addressing critical labour shortages. This is welcome news for all parties involved,” he said.

The launch of a Tech Talent Strategy also took place at the event in Toronto by Fraser; this launch featured a string of “aggressive attraction measures”. The plan also included the creation of an open work permit stream for H-1B speciality occupation visa holders in the US, open work permits for up to five years for highly skilled workers in select in-demand occupations, and the promotion of Canada as a digital nomads destination.

Basiri continued by noting that Passage is seeking to “match talented immigrants to life-changing educational and career opportunities” in Canada.

“At a time when our country struggles to fill critical jobs in STEM, bioscience, manufacturing, cybersecurity, health care, trades, and more, we know that there is a pool of dedicated talent globally who wish to study and work in Canada yet lack the financial means to do so,” Basiri said.

“Our mission at Passage is to provide access to life-changing educational and career opportunities.” He went on. 

He added that this aims to “empower” immigrants by matching their talents with the “most crucial workforce needs”, prior to working in order to provide financial solutions and connect them to the needed logistical support. 

This platform will reach out to financial institutions and have them fund immigrants before they arrive in Canada. This will be based on the immigrants’ credit profile at home as well as their future earning potential in Canada similar to MPOWER and Prodigy Finance, according to an interview with The Globe and Mail. One of the previously mentioned entities recently partnered with Goldman Sachs on a US$150m educational loan facility.

Drive Capital is leading the new seed funding round, with the firm’s VC saying the backing is “an investment in Canada’s future”.

“With thousands of jobs sitting unfilled in the economy, affecting goods and services Canadians need, Canada is facing a socio-economic crisis that must be addressed,” Nick Solaro, partner at Drive Capital. said.

“Martin and his talented team are doing just that. Passage will serve the best talent in the world – while also serving Canada.”

Passage will be allowed during the first round to further develop its technology platform and build out its operational capacity. The platform’s pilot project will set out to help more than 100 Afghani women access STEM education opportunities in Canada. 


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