A new pilot project will give international students at some of British Columbia’s private educational institutions the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience after graduation.
The move marks the next step in the federal government’s strategy to attract international students. Since 2005, the number of foreign students coming to Canada has increased by 25 per cent, with 85,140 entries in 2009.
“In the next decade, B.C. will have more than a million job openings, and immigration is going to be a key factor in our ability to fill them,” said B.C. Minister of Regional Economic and Skills Development Ida Chong. “By expanding this program to private institutions, we’re giving more international students an opportunity to work and potentially to choose British Columbia as their place to call home.”
The Post-Graduation Work Permit Program already allows students who have graduated from an eligible program at a post-secondary institution to gain valuable Canadian work experience. Under the program, graduates can apply for open work permits for up to three years, depending on the length of time they studied. Until now, only international students at public universities and colleges and private degree-granting institutions were able to apply.
With the implementation of this two-year pilot project, graduates of private post-secondary institutions with career training programs who have received B.C.’s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation are also able to apply for an open work permit.
“International graduates with Canadian education, Canadian work experience and an ease and familiarity with Canadian society are often excellent candidates to apply for permanent resident status through the Canadian Experience Class,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
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