New Brunswick Schools Want Further Action on International Student Policies

Post-secondary institutions in New Brunswick are raising concerns over recent federal regulations limiting the intake of international student.

Despite the immigration department’s efforts to streamline processes by expanding the number of attestation letters for study permit applications, universities like St. Thomas University are grappling with constrained enrollment figures.

Ryan Sullivan, Associate Vice-President of Enrollment Management at St. Thomas University, acknowledges the positive step of increased attestation letters, now totaling 314 compared to the initial 199.

However, he stresses that this adjustment still falls short of the university’s desired student intake. Last year, out of 550 international applications, only 330 were accepted, and plans for further expansion have been stymied by the new caps imposed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

In January, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a cap on international student permits for 2024, aiming to stabilize Canada’s growth and address concerns about the integrity of the international student system.

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The cap, set at 236,000 study permits, represents a 42% decrease from the previous year’s approvals. This reduction is based on various factors, including expiring permits, extensions, and projected student demographics.

New Brunswick, along with Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, faces a 10% decline in study permit approvals compared to the previous year. To meet the projected approval targets, the number of applications requiring attestation letters has been increased. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour confirmed a significant rise in the allocation of attestation letters for all designated learning institutions (DLIs) in New Brunswick, from 9,300 to 14,651.

Despite this increase, concerns persist among administrators regarding the cumbersome process of obtaining provincial attestation letters, leading to uncertainty about meeting enrollment targets for the upcoming academic year. Pierre Zundel, President and CEO of the Collège Communautaire de Nouveau-Brunswick, expressed frustration over the timing constraints associated with the attestation letter process, complicating planning for the fall term.

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Moreover, competition from other countries like the UK, US, and Australia, capitalizing on Canada’s tightened regulations, poses additional challenges for attracting international students. Greg Turner, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour, acknowledges the need for improving conversion rates and indicates collaboration between Ottawa and Canadian institutions to address these issues. One proposed solution involves requiring payment of first semester fees before issuing attestation letters, with financial stability being a crucial factor in visa approval.

Despite ongoing efforts to engage with the federal government, concerns persist within the academic community regarding the impact of current policies on international student recruitment and enrollment.

Updated Employer Form Released by Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) has introduced a revised version of its Employer Form, effective April 10, for all new applications seeking a nomination under the Employer: Job Offer stream of the Provincial Nominee Program.

As per the OINP guidelines, the ‘Application for Approval of Employment Position’ form is now mandatory. Failure to submit the updated form will result in the application being deemed incomplete, leading to a refund of the application fee.

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Here are the key eligibility criteria for the various streams under the Employer Job Offer category:

Employer Job Offer: Foreign Worker Stream

  • Applicants must hold a permanent and full-time job offer under NOC (National Occupational Classification) categories 1, 2, or 3, meeting Ontario’s median wage levels and deemed essential to the business.
  • The proposed wage should match or exceed the current wage for those already employed in the position.
  • A minimum of two years of relevant work experience within the past five years is required.
  • Mandatory licensing in Ontario, if applicable to the position.
  • Applicants must reside abroad or have legal status in Canada under a permit (work, study, or visit) and express a genuine intention to settle in Ontario.

Employer Job Offer: International Student Stream

  • Candidates must possess a permanent and full-time job offer under NOC categories 1, 2, or 3, or Skill Type 0 or Skill Levels A or B, meeting Ontario’s low wage levels and essential to the business.
  • Similar to the Foreign Worker Stream, the proposed wage must meet or exceed the current wage for existing employees.
  • Eligible applicants should have completed either a minimum two-year degree or a one-year post-graduate diploma from a publicly-funded Canadian college or university, with at least half of the studies completed in Canada.
  • Applications must be submitted within two years of course completion.
  • Legal status in Ontario and an intention to settle are prerequisites.

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Employer Job Offer: In-Demand Skills Stream

  • This stream targets individuals with specific skills in demand within Ontario.
  • Requirements include a permanent and full-time job offer in designated occupations within the agriculture or construction sector, meeting Ontario’s median wage levels.
  • Candidates must have at least 9 months of cumulative work experience in one of the eligible occupations within the last three years, with seasonal work not being considered.
  • Educational qualifications equivalent to Canadian high school education or higher.
  • Proficiency in English or French (CLB/NCLC 4) in all language competencies.
  • Similar to other streams, applicants must reside abroad or have legal status in Canada under a permit and express a genuine intention to settle in Ontario.

Eligible Occupations:

  • The In-Demand Skills Stream encompasses a range of occupations critical to Ontario’s economy. These include but are not limited to home support workers, construction trades helpers, specialized livestock workers, industrial butchers, and electronics assemblers, among others.

In conclusion, the revised Employer Form underscores the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program’s commitment to streamlining processes and ensuring the selection of candidates who meet the province’s economic needs while also facilitating their integration into Ontario communities.

Canada International Students Can Get Scholarships At University of Alberta

Various scholarship opportunities are available at the University of Alberta (UofA) for international students looking to move to the province for undergraduate or postgraduate studies.

It is one of Canada’s and the world’s premier learning institutions, hosting roughly 40,000 students from 156 countries, for programs at the undergraduate, master’s and PhD levels.

It is currently ranked 111th in the world according to QS World Reporter, and 7th in the latest Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

Based on scholarship type, the funding could be full or partial, covering one or more of living expenses, tuition, book fees, and other expenses.

The following scholarships are available for international students:

Undergraduate Scholarships 

The two categories of UofA undergraduate scholarships are:

1. Admission-Based

These scholarships do not need an application process. Students, rather, are automatically considered for them when they apply for admission at the university, based on their high school admission average at the time of their admission offer. If successful, the successful, the school will contact them with an admission offer.

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The admission-based scholarships available are:

  • International Admission Scholarship: Students can receive as much as $5,000 if they are successful, depending on the admission average
  • Regional Excellence Scholarship: Students from certain regions can be granted a maximum of $5,000, based on admission average
  • Gold Standard Scholarship: This scholarship goes to the top 5% of students in each faculty, granting them $6,000.

2. Application-Based 

Students who are unsure what scholarship they are eligible for can be especially benefitted by this scholarship, which uses a single form to assess students on academics, leadership, inclusion, and financial need:

  • President’s International Distinction Scholarship: This is UofA’s most prestigious and competitive scholarship, and for right reason. Valued at $120,000 (payable over four years) the scholarship is geared towards recognizing students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, creativity, and who are recognized leaders within their school.
  • University of Alberta International Leader Scholarship: This award is for well-rounded leaders with high academic achievement, allowing them to receive anywhere up to $15,000.
  • May Quon Undergraduate Scholarship: This funding is only open to high academic achievers who are Chinese or Hong Kong citizens, and on a study permit. Financial need of students will also be considered, and students can achieve up to $100,000 (payable over four years).
  • University of Alberta Global Citizen Scholarship for IB Diploma International Students: This scholarship – which can go up to a maximum $53,000 per year for four year – is granted to first-year students showing strong academic performance in the international baccalaureate diploma program, demonstrated financial need, and strong leadership skills.
  • Cora Martinson International Scholarship: Students with strong academic achievement entering any year of an undergraduate degree at Augustana Faculty on a study permit could receive a total of $56,000 (payable over 4 years). Preference is given to students with financial need.

Graduate Scholarships 

Awards, scholarships, and prizes are given to exemplary students to fund their graduate education, funded by sources like the Government of Canada, Government of Alberta, and many of the University’s donors. Some awards are also exclusive to specific programs.

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1. Department Awards

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) administers over 500 Department Awards, which are valued in thousand of dollars, endowed or annually funded by donors to the University of Alberta. There are two donor funded Department Award categories: Department Specific Awards and Inter-Department Awards.

2. Thesis Completion Awards

These awards are for outstanding theses at the master’s and doctoral levels, with students either nearing completion – or having already completed – their graduate degree. The different types of awards include:

  • Governor General’s Gold Medal
  • CAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards
  • WAGS/ProQuest Innovation and Technology Awards
  • WAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Master’s Thesis Awards (STEM and Non-STEM)
  • WAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Master’s Thesis and/or Final Master’s Capstone Project Award in the Creative, Visual and Performing Arts

3. University of Alberta Graduate Recruitment Scholarship 

This scholarship is focused on recruiting superior graduate students with the potential to contribute to UofA’s community and research.

Scholarships will be offered in increments of $5,000. It is up to the department to decide how many increments of $5,000 to offer a student based on their allocation. The award value varies and is indicated in the original letter of offer.

4. University of Alberta Graduate Entrance Scholarship 

This scholarship is for the Faculty to provide funding and support for newly admitted graduate students whose admissions were ranked highly by their Department.

The Stipend Value sits at $17,500 for Master’s and $21,000 for Doctoral students. They must have a Canadian bank account and address to receive the award.

The students will receive an additional $10,000 to help cover the fees, which will be applied directly to their tuition and fees account.

5. Killam Trust Scholarships 

As one of the most prestigious endowments for scholarly pursuits, the $400 million Killam Trusts are responsible for this scholarship. The Killam Bequest has provided upward of $60 million to the University of Alberta between the three programs that the GPS delivers:

  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship
  • Dorothy J Killam Memorial Graduate Prizes
  • Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring
  • Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Dorothy J Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellow Prize

6. Andrew Stewart Memorial Graduate Prize 

This prize is given in direct recognition of excellence in research at the doctoral level. It acknowledges outstanding accomplishment and potential in pursuit of new knowledge.

The award is of $500, and is open to students who have completed at least 24 months (2 years) in their doctoral program by April 30, 2024, and have completed no more than 6 years. For students who transferred from a master’s to a doctoral program, the time spent in the master’s program counts towards the time spent in the doctoral.

7. Alberta Innovates Graduate Scholarships 

Alberta Innovates invests in supporting academically superior graduate students undertaking full-time research education at an Alberta university, leading to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree.

The Alberta Innovates Graduate Student Scholarships program (GSS) focuses on Emerging Technology Areas important to Alberta, such as Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies (AMM). These areas align with the innovation priority areas of Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Health.

The scholarship value is:

  • Master’s full value: $26,000
  • PhD full value: $31,000
  • Top-up value: $12,000

8. Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship (AGES) 

The new AGES was established to fund the best students’ education in Alberta, including those from outside Canada.

To be eligible, students must showcase academic excellence through one or more of the following:

  • Current students have earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 or greater over the most recent 15 units of course weight in current program. Where there are less than 15 graded credits in the current program, the admission GPA (AGPA) is a weighted factor. For students newly admitted in Fall 2023 or Winter 2024 terms in which graded coursework is not yet available in the current program, the Admission GPA (AGPA) will be used.
  • Research and/or academic contributions that may include published manuscripts, presentations, posters, exhibitions, community engagement, performances; and,
  • Previous record of scholarly achievement through awards, scholarships, prizes, among others.

9. Mackenzie King Scholarships 

There are two types of scholarships under this fund. They are:

  • The Mackenzie King Open Scholarship: it is open to graduates (meaning holders of a degree) of any Canadian university who engage in (commence or continue) graduate study (master’s or doctoral) in any field, in Canada or elsewhere. The scholarship value is $14,000 CAD
  • The Mackenzie King Travelling Scholarship: It is open to graduates (meaning holders of a degree) of any Canadian university who engage in (commence or continue) graduate study (master’s or doctoral), in the United States or the United Kingdom, of international relations or industrial relations (including the international or industrial relations aspects of law, history, politics and economics). The scholarship value is $15,500.

Eligibility Requirements for International Students to Apply for a University of Alberta Scholarship 

Eligible applicants who have completed a high school degree are eligible to apply for an undergraduate program, while those with a master’s degree can apply to a PhD program.

Applicants must show an outstanding educational record to apply to the University.