The Tyee has published my article Give Us an Edge in the Global Brain Race, about recruiting more international students. Excerpt:
Canada doesn't have to be the wallflower at the prom. We need to stop thinking of international students as cash cows and start thinking of them as future Canadians.
In the U.S., a foreigner can become a citizen very quickly: Enlist in the military while on U.S. soil in wartime. Otherwise it's a long, slow process. Here in Canada, you can't become a citizen until you've gained permanent resident status and lived here for three of the last four years. It's the same in Australia.
An offer they can't refuse
Suppose, then, we offered the top foreign post-secondary students a deal. Just as Cecil Rhodes endowed a scholarship fund that still attracts the best and brightest, let's create "Canada Scholars."
Canada Scholars would receive scholarships and fellowships covering the full cost of tuition and reasonable living expenses, plus permanent-resident status after two years of successful study. At that point they could apply for citizenship as well. At the end of a third successful year, they would receive it.
By the time these top students left grad school, they'd have their pick of careers, and we'd make sure that Canadian opportunities were especially attractive: challenging jobs in business, the professions, the sciences, the civil service.