Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atlantic Provinces Hope to Coax More Foreign Students to Stay after Graduation

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Atlantic Provinces Hope to Coax More Foreign Students to Stay after Graduation

Article excerpt

Atlantic provinces seek to keep foreign students

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MONCTON, N.B. - A program that helps international students to stay and work in Nova Scotia will be adopted by the three other Atlantic provinces as they try to grow their population.

Federal Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said Atlantic Canada has a retention rate for skilled immigrants that "hovers at around 60 per cent," compared to rates of 90 per cent or higher in Ontario and Alberta.

Hussen said the region-wide extension of Nova Scotia's "Study and Stay" program will act as a compliment to the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Project announced in 2016 that connects immigrants and companies.

"It is very explicitly about retaining people here," Hussen told a news conference following a meeting Tuesday of federal politicians and Atlantic premiers in Moncton, N.B.

"Atlantic Canada has never had a problem attracting skilled immigrants -- the problem is retention, so they come here and they don't stay."

Such programs are key because they involve companies in helping to establish local roots for skilled immigrants and their families, he said.

"We know that will vastly improve the retention rate," Hussen said. "I think it's great because it addresses a real challenge that is a little bit more acute in Atlantic Canada than the rest of the country."

In Nova Scotia, Study and Stay provides targeted support and services for up to 50 international students during their final year of post-secondary studies.

The program includes career mentoring and access to employment-related events and workshops, and there is also a subsidy to help local employers offset the cost of hiring students for a work-term after they graduate.

Karen Casey, Nova Scotia's deputy premier, said the program had received over 700 inquiries from international students, of which 49 students were selected for participation. …

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