Manitoba’s off-campus work program becomes permanent

Successful pilot project allows international students to gain broader work experience

A two-year pilot program that allows international students to work off campus will become a permanent part of Manitoba’s international student recruitment and immigration strategy.

The Off-Campus Work Permit Program for International Students was launched in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Manitoba Advanced Education and Training, and Manitoba Labour and Immigration in 2003.

The program lets international post-secondary students obtain off-campus work permits. Prior to the program, international students were only allowed to work at the school they were attending.

"This work permit program is an important element in our immigration strategy to keep international graduates in Manitoba once their studies are completed," said Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration Nancy Allan. "Working in the community and having opportunities to make contacts in the private sector will help international students create strong links to Manitoba."

In its first year, the program received 528 applications from Manitoba's public post-secondary institutions - 46.2 per cent of the 1,143 international students eligible to participate in the program.

The program's success was instrumental in making the initiative available to other provincial governments and educational institutions. The permanent program will be implemented in Manitoba once federal funding is approved.

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