Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

February 22, 2011 10:30 ET

Pilot Project Launches in British Columbia to Offer More Opportunity to International Graduates

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2011) - International students at some of British Columbia's private educational institutions will have the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience after graduation, thanks to a new pilot project.

The announcement was made today by Alice Wong, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Member of Parliament for Richmond, and B.C. Minister of Regional Economic and Skills Development Ida Chong. It marks the next step in the Government of Canada's strategy to attract international students. Since 2005, the number of foreign students coming to Canada has increased by 25 percent, with a total of 85,140 entries in 2009.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to attract international students to Canada and retaining them after they graduate," said Parliamentary Secretary Wong. "With this pilot project, we are continuing to build Canada's standing as a destination of choice for international students."

"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 Minister 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 on January 31, graduates of private post-secondary institutions with career training programs that have received the British Columbia 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," stated Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.

The Government of Canada is committed to giving Canadian educational institutions a competitive edge in attracting international students and recent initiatives, including online application services, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program and the Off-Campus Work Permit Program, have been very successful in doing so.

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Contact Information

  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Minister's Office
    Alykhan Velshi
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Communications Branch
    Media Relations
    Ministry of Regional Economic and Skills Development
    Lisa Tees
    Director of Communications
    250-888-3466 (cell)