New Brunswick is attempting to woo international with a new program to encourage them to remain after graduation.
“Growing our population base is essential to addressing the workforce needs of the future, and access to skilled talent is crucial for New Brunswick companies of every size,” said provincial Immigration Minister Arlene Dunn.
“Not only are international students a critical component of our talent pipeline, they also contribute immensely to making our province more diverse and inclusive.”
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The $1 million, three-year Study and Succeed in New Brunswick program is offering international grads access to resources, support and connections in a bid to boost the availability of skilled labour in the province.
The program is being funded by Opportunities NB and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) through its Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. Each agency is plunking down about $500,000.
REGI is a national innovation program to grow regional industrial and technology clusters and regional innovation ecosystems.
“The government of Canada, through ACOA, is proud to support projects like Opportunities NB’s Study and Succeed initiative that provide international graduate students with the tools, training, and professional contacts they need to stay in New Brunswick,” said Fredericton MP Jenica Atwin.
“By creating the right networks and opportunities, we are fostering inclusion and strengthening our vibrant, diverse communities.”
The move by New Brunswick to retain more of its international students comes in the wake of a Conference Board of Canada report late last year which called on Ottawa to boost the number of international students the provinces can nominate through their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).
“The PNP is the most common way that former international students become permanent residents,” noted the non-profit think tank in its report, After School: Keeping International Students In Province.
“An increase in PNP slots for international students can make it easier for them to stay in Canada, which can facilitate retention in provinces of study.”
Provinces Urged To Put More Settlement Services In Place For Students
The Conference Board of Canada also highlighted in that report the importance of improved settlement services offered by the provinces, such as New Brunswick is now doing, to help international students seeking their permanent residence in Canada.
“The post-study period can be precarious. International students are navigating the transition to the labour market and the immigration system without access to federally-funded settlement services,” noted the Conference Board of Canada.
“Provinces can boost retention by ensuring that international students get support from their post-secondary institution and from provincially funded settlement services.
“An early investment from provincial governments in the success of international students will help them build a career and community connections, which will ultimately benefit retention.”
Universities and colleges in Canada enjoy a very solid reputation throughout the world.
In the ninth annual Best Global Universities ranking of 2,000 of these educational institutions throughout the world, three Canadian universities – the University of Toronto (UofT), the University of British Columbia (UBC), and McGill University – placed among the 100 best.
And another 15 Canadian universities made it into the top quarter of the 2,000 best universities ranked.
The University of Toronto was ranked 18th. UBC placed 35th. McGill University was deemed the third-best university in Canada.
As last year drew to a close, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data offered a glimpse of the massive potential to increase immigration to the country through better programs to retain international students.
That IRCC data shows Canada was on track to set a new record for study permits issued in 2022 with 418,260 international students having been given one of these permits in the first nine months of the year.
Based on that current trend, Canada was then on track to close 2022 with 557,680 study permits issued. That would be 113,200 study permits, or almost 25.5 per cent, more than the 444,480 issued in 2021.
Since 2015, the number of study permits issued to international students coming to Canada has more than doubled, soaring from 219,035 during that year to record-breaking levels today.
Study Permits Allow International Students To Work While In Canada
A study permit, once issued, allows a foreign national to study in Canada at an approved institute for the duration of the specified course or program.
There are exceptions. Foreign nationals do not require a study permit to go to school in Canada under the following conditions:
- the course or program of study is less than six months in duration;
- the student is a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada, or;
- the student is a member of a foreign armed force.
To be eligible to study in Canada students must:
- have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada;
- have proven they have enough money to pay for their tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation for themselves and any family members who come with them to Canada.
- be law-abiding citizens with no criminal record and not a risk to the security of Canada. They may have to provide a police certificate;
- be in good health and willing to complete a medical examination, if necessary, and;
- satisfy an immigration officer they will leave Canada at the end of their authorized stay.
A Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) may also be required if the student is a citizen of a country from which such visas are required for entry into Canada. This is not required for citizens of visa-exempt countries.
IRCC allows students to work while studying in Canada.
A student may be able to work in Canada during his or her studies under the following categories:
- On campus without a Work Permit;
- Off campus with a Work Permit;
- In Co-op and Internship Programs, where work experience is part of the curriculum, with a Work Permit.
Spouses or common-law partners of foreign students are also eligible for work permits for the duration of the study permit.
Upon graduation, a foreign student may apply for a work permit under the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. Under this program, the work permit may be issued for the length of the study program, up to a maximum of three years.