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Canadian province offers residency to STEM grads

Canadian province Manitoba is launching a International Education Stream, which will give international STEM graduates a chance to apply for permanent residency as soon as they finish their studies.

Winnipeg's provincial government hopes the new option will attract STEM students to stay after graduation. Photo: Flickr/Robert Linsdell

Bachelors students may apply too, but only if they have a job offer

This new scheme has been described as “generous”, as it will allow some recent graduates to apply directly for permanent residency, without even as much as a job offer in their hands.

The program looks, at first glance, like an effort to keep up with Nova Scotia’s successful “Stay in Scotia” campaign which aimed to give international students a route to stay in Canada after their studies.

“We want you to find and be successful in an employment opportunity to use [your] training”

But Ben Rempel, assistant deputy minister of immigration and economic opportunities in the Manitoba, says the province’s new technique is actually aimed at students who changed their study ambitions to improve their chances of staying in the nation.

“Students were choosing the quickest programs, not necessarily the ones that match their career interests, and they were staying in jobs that weren’t really advancing those career interests in order to qualify for a nomination,” Rempel said.

“Our goal is to say: we want you to study in the programs that are relevant and important for your career pathways, and we want you to find and be successful in an employment opportunity to use that training,” he added.

Any international STEM student who has completed an internship or similar, as part of a master or PhD program in Manitoba, will be allowed to apply for residency as soon as they graduate.

Bachelors students may apply too, but only if they have a job offer relating to their field of study, and that job is on the approved list of the province’s needed occupations.

International students who graduated in Canada, but not Manitoba, may apply to the Skilled Workers in Manitoba Stream.

This is not a new idea in Canada, as almost all provinces have a form of a post-study work route for international students. When the Manitoba scheme goes live in April, it will mean only Alberta does not have such a program. The Canadian federal government also has post-study work routes available.

Rempel added that Manitoba’s government sees this new program as first step to further potential pathways options for students in the province.

“This is the beginning; if we can find innovative and responsive, new pathways that meet the needs of specific sectors or industries, we would certainly do something.”

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