Immigration consulting: beyond the documents
By: Boon Khoo and Chantal Vallis. This is the fourth article in the International Student Connection staff edition, a monthly series to help our University community support international students at Waterloo. It is written by staff at the Student Success Office (SSO).
Sandwiched between all the typical student activities (like going to class, visiting with friends, completing assignments, etc.), international students need to ensure they’re meeting the conditions of their study permit. Without this, they can’t remain at Waterloo and complete their studies. They also won’t be able to graduate, apply for their post-graduation work permit and/or permanent residency.
The length and complexity of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) applications and their ever-changing regulations can cause a lot of stress for international students. Layered on to this, academic policies can sometimes juxtapose immigration policies, causing confusion and additional stress. However, the immigration consulting services at the SSO alleviate concerns and help students to feel confident in applying for and renewing their documents.
Our team of five highly-skilled Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCIC) belong to the regulated profession in Canada that certifies them to advise, consult and represent before IRCC. They’re the only group on campus that provide professional immigration consulting to students as they face challenging periods in their studies or deal with complex timelines. They help students make important decisions that will enable them to study in Canada and fulfill their permanent residency aspirations; 60% of international students in Canada report that they intend to apply for permanent residency and 30% are undecided.
Beyond immigration advice, the consultants offer a compassionate listening ear and refer students to resources on and off campus when students share life challenges in their appointments. It’s not uncommon for students to arrive feeling overwhelmed but leave feeling reassured and understanding their next steps. A recent student expressed that the support not only helped them with their application, but also provided them hope and optimism about their future.
As immigration regulations and policies change, and as our international student population increases, the role of the immigration consultants continues to grow and evolve. So how can you maintain a high level of support while meeting increasing demands for consulting?
Get creative! Over the past year, many improvements have been implemented such as:
- A series of YouTube videos to help guide international students through the application process for key documents, which received 28,033 views in the first year
- Improvements to the online appointment booking experience for students, through Q-nomy integration, which allows for same-day appointments to be conveniently booked in Portal
- Targeted info sessions about post-graduate work permits for MBET students and study permit extensions for BASE students in collaboration with faculties and departments
None of this is possible without the continued support of campus partners. By directing students to authorized immigration consultants, you can help ensure international students are receiving current immigration information. Thank you!
EdTech Week offers development opportunities for instructors
A message from the Centre for Teaching Excellence
Educational Technologies Week is March 2-6, 2020. EdTech Week is an opportunity for Waterloo instructors to focus more intensively on teaching development and technologies that promote deep learning. Join us for the entire week or register for individual workshops that you find interesting!
Learn about what others are doing and engage with the following topics and technologies:
- Using Bongo, a video assessment tool that promotes experiential learning and the development of soft skills
- VirBELA, a virtual workplace platform that facilitates casual and structured collaboration
- Use of virtual and augmented reality in the classroom
- How to “gamify” a course with LEARN
- H5P, a powerful and flexible authoring tool that allows users to create interactive videos, presentations, games, and more
- Lightboard, an illuminated glass “chalkboard” that can be used to create engaging videos
- Mobius, a tool that facilitates the development of interactive online content for STEM courses
- PebblePad ePortfolios
Derek Bruff, Director of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching and a principal senior lecturer in the Vanderbilt Department of Mathematics, will deliver a keynote presentation: Principles to Guide the use of Educational Technology in University Teaching. He will also lead a workshop on the use of creative assignments for deep learning.
What's open and closed on Family Day, Reading Week
Monday is Family Day, a statutory holiday in Ontario, and most University operations will be closed.
Monday's closures include Print + Retail Solutions, the Physical Activities Complex and Columbia Icefield, (open 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 15 but closed Sunday, February 16 and Monday, February 17), and most Food Services locations, unless otherwise noted on their schedule.
The Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries will be open from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Monday with some services remaining closed. Browser’s Café in the Dana Porter Library will be closed Saturday, February 15 - 17, it will open 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. February 18 - 21 and will be closed from February 22 - 23.
Even on holidays, the University Police (519-888-4911) will be at work, the Student Life Centre's Turnkey Desk (519–888-4434) will be open, and the central plant will monitor campus buildings (for maintenance emergencies, call ext. 33793).
Monday, February 17 marks the beginning of Reading Week, otherwise known as the Winter term study break, during which there will be no lectures or classes on campus. The University’s offices and services will be open more or less as usual from Tuesday through Friday, which are regular working days for most University employees.
Some Food Services outlets will close for the entire week or have modified hours of operation, visit the Food Services site for all restaurant schedules.
Print + Retail Solutions locations will be open from Tuesday February 18 to Thursday February 20, and will be closed Friday the 21 until 1:30 p.m. for a staff training session.
Have a great long weekend!