‘Study and Stay’ offers a range of services to a select group of international students to help them fully integrate into Nova Scotia society, and is now set to be rolled out across Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
“Atlantic Canada has never had a problem attracting skilled immigrants — the problem is retention”
It specifically targets international students from China, India and the Philippines, providing them with support for the duration of their courses to help them develop a career in the province.
The program is designed to complement the existing Atlantic Immigration Pilot, which has a specific international student stream offering permanent residence to graduates who have a job offer from a recognised employer.
The AIP is expected to attract an extra 4,000 immigrants per year to the region by 2020, according to the most recent federal government levels plan.
It includes features such as a settlement plan and endorsement requirement specifically designed to help immigrants integrate into society.
“It is very explicitly about retaining people here,” federal immigration minister Ahmed Hussen told a press conference.
“One of the key streams in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is the stream targeting international students because they are excellent candidates to become permanent residents and eventually citizens.
“Atlantic Canada has never had a problem attracting skilled immigrants — the problem is retention, so they come here and they don’t stay.”
Hussen said that he is confident the program will vastly improve the retention rate, adding: “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.”
Speaking with The PIE News, EduNova recruitment coordinator Austin Zhang said from international student recruitment standpoint, the program is a valuable tool to identify and attract young international talents to Atlantic Canada.
“With the positive experience and meaningful connections that students are gaining from the program, we would like to see them to stay in Nova Scotia or other Atlantic Canada provinces and to contribute to a stronger and more diverse Nova Scotia or Atlantic Canada into the future,” he added.
A recent report found that immigrants fuel Canada’s status as one of the best-educated countries in the world, as the percentage of degree holders among 25 to 35-year-olds is 36% for second-generation migrants compared to 24% for peers with Canadian-born parents.