Work and live abroad is a complete resource for those wanting to work abroad or live abroad. We provide overseas job openings, immigration information, legal advice and country guides.
Receive updates on working and living abroad
Study Abroad

Oct 28, 2003
Canada to Attract more Skilled Immigrants and Foreign Students
Email this article
CALGARY, October 16, 2003 -- The Honourable Denis Coderre, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Dr. Lyle Oberg, Minister of Alberta Learning, are launching two joint initiatives to attract more foreign students to Alberta and are extending existing measures to draw more skilled immigrants to the province.

The Ministers have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that sets out the terms of an innovative pilot project to fast-track the processing of study permit applications from selected foreign students. They also agreed to allow foreign students, who graduate from post-secondary institutions in Alberta, to stay and work in the province for an extra year. In a third announcement, the Ministers agreed to expand the existing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) that allows Alberta to attract targeted skilled immigrants, who could help the province meet its economic development needs.

"I am pleased with the collaborative approach that is being fostered between the Government of Canada and Alberta," said Minister Coderre. "Through these three initiatives, Alberta and the federal government will be working together to make Canada a destination of choice for talented foreign students and skilled immigrants."

"Alberta has always recognized the economic, social and cultural contribution that immigrants and international students make to Alberta," said Dr. Oberg. "As a province, we have had to look very seriously at how we hope to meet our labour force needs now and in the future. With the signing of these groundbreaking foreign student pilot projects and other initiatives, such as the extension of the Provincial Nominee agreement, Alberta is leading the way for a prosperous future."

Fast-tracking study permits

Alberta is the first province to sign an agreement with the Government of Canada to fast-track study permits for foreign students. The joint MOU sets out the terms for the priority processing of study permit applications submitted by foreign students destined for designated post-secondary learning institutions in Alberta. Visa officers at participating Canadian missions abroad will be able to process the applications in as few as 28 days, down from standard processing times of up to three months.

To be fast-tracked, applicants must be accepted, and have committed to studying, at a publicly funded Alberta post-secondary institution that is designated in the MOU. Students must also pass an approved medical examination. As with all foreign students, only candidates who pose no identifiable risk to Canada's security or public safety will be considered for permits.

The two-year pilot is expected to take effect on April 1, 2004. As it unfolds, federal and provincial officials will work with institutions to develop consistent and effective documents and procedures. The MOU also calls for an evaluation of the pilot, enhanced information exchanges among partners, and the application of best practices.

"This is an important initiative for international students as well as students here in Alberta," said Dr. David Marshall, President, Mount Royal College. "Streamlining the study permit process will increase access for foreign students and ensure that students here in Alberta have a more global perspective as they exchange ideas with their international peers throughout their studies."

The MOU was signed at Mount Royal College, which has approximately 3,500 international students enrolled in programs this year.

Extended work terms

In another measure to attract and retain foreign students, Ministers Coderre and Oberg also agreed to issue two-year work permits to foreign students who graduate from publicly funded Alberta post-secondary institutions. Under the agreement, foreign graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions will be allowed to stay and work in their field of study for two years without the need for further government approvals. Currently, temporary work terms are restricted to one year.

This three-year pilot project will take effect on January 1, 2004. New Brunswick has a similar program in place.

Provincial Nominee Program

In addition to the foreign student initiatives, Ministers Coderre and Oberg committed to expanding Alberta's Provincial Nominee Program, which gives the province a more direct role in selecting immigrants who wish to settle in the province. The program, which has been operating as a two-year pilot since March 2002, will be extended for a third year. Moreover, the number of candidates who can be nominated for immigration will be doubled to 800.

The expansion of Alberta's PNP agreement will enable the province to nominate more candidates with the skills and experience Alberta needs. Under PNP agreements, provinces and territories may nominate immigrants who they believe would contribute to their economic and social development. Most Canadian provinces and territories have signed PNP agreements with the Government of Canada.

Related Articles
Reader Comments
9mQXi5 vewjiit - Dclfpndimx
Add your own comment >>