Canada immigration news: Newfoundland & Labrador is looking to motivate more international students to stay and begin their careers in the province after graduation by extending the provincial healthcare available to them.
As part of a series of new initiatives launched in December, medical care available to international students is to be extended for 90 days after graduation, giving candidates the chance to look for jobs in the province.
Provincial officials say the change puts Newfoundland’s international student medical coverage among the ‘best-in-class’ in Canada.
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New funding will also be provided to help international graduates find jobs in the province, and help them prepare for the move from study to work.
Memorial University is to employ a ‘Post-Graduate Retention Coordinator’ to support students in their transition to work, “providing a level of student support that is almost nonexistent across graduate schools in Canada,” the province says.
Further funding will also go towards helping students gain practical work experience during their studies, thus improving their employment prospects after graduation.
The province is also providing support for intercultural training for existing citizens and residents, including the university community, employers and sector groups.
“The goal is to provide training that will foster a better understanding and appreciation of international students and their unique cultures, leading to improved outcomes for students while they study and after they graduate,” the province says.
These latest projects are designed to help push towards a target of 5,100 new permanent residents a year in Newfoundland & Labrador by 2026.
The target is ambitious considering the largest annual intake in the last six years was the 1,850 newcomers welcomed in 2019.
During 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the province welcomed just 905 new permanent residents, while the figure is at 1,080 for the first nine months of 2021.
If targets are to be reached, there is clearly much work still to be done.
Newfoundland has already introduced a number of initiatives designed to boost immigration.
It launched Priority Skills Newfoundland and Labrador on January 2, 2021, a new stream for skilled newcomers in sectors with labour shortages.
The province’s Pathways Job Matching program aims to match employers with full-time vacancies with newcomers, including international graduates.
An investment of $2 million over the next two years will see the development of a new online application system in the province, to be used by both candidates and employers.
Further funding has been pumped into helping international students, increasing immigration staffing levels, marketing campaigns, plus English language testing and instruction.