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Canadian Provinces are enticing foreign students with their ‘Study & Stay’ program

A program aimed at attracting international students to the Canadian state of Nova Scotia will be rolled out in three Atlantic Provinces as the region looks to tackle its immigrant retention problem. The program is aimed at attracting foreign students to the provinces of Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick with the aim to keep them living in those areas after they have graduated.

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Currently just 60% of immigrants arriving in Atlantic Canada stay in the region, compared with 90% in Ontario and Alberta.

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The ‘Study and Stay’ initiative is said to offer a range of services to a select group of international students to help them fully integrate into Nova Scotia society.

The program is designed to complement the existing Atlantic Immigration Pilot (AIP), which has a specific international student stream offering permanent residence to graduates who have a job offer from a recognized employer.

The AIP is expected to attract an extra 4,000 immigrants per year to the region by 2020, according to the most recent federal government levels plan. It includes features such as a settlement plan and endorsement requirement specifically designed to help immigrants integrate into society.

“It is very explicitly about retaining people here,” federal immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said at a press conference announcing the program.

“One of the key streams in the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program is the stream targeting international students because they are excellent candidates to become permanent residents and eventually citizens.

“Atlantic Canada has never had a problem attracting skilled immigrants — the problem is retention, so they come here and they don’t stay.”

Hussen said that he is confident the program will vastly improve the retention rate, adding: “I think it’s great because it addresses a real challenge that is a little bit more acute in Atlantic Canada than the rest of the country.”

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A recent report found that immigrants fuel Canada’s status as one of the best-educated countries in the world, as the percentage of degree holders among 25 to 35-year-olds is 36% for second-generation migrants compared to 24% for peers with Canadian-born parents.

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