Fredericton, March 18, 2004 - Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Peter Mesheau, Minister of Business New Brunswick, today announced a two-year pilot project that will allow international students to work off campus.
"I am pleased that Canada and New Brunswick enjoy such a positive and cooperative relationship on immigration matters," said Minister Sgro. "The pilot project on international students will improve the global competitiveness of New Brunswick's post-secondary academic institutions," she added. .
"New Brunswick post-secondary institutions will be made even more attractive to international students if they have the opportunity to make money while in school and gain some experience in the Canadian labour market," said Minister Mesheau. "The new ideas, talents and cultures that international students bring with them enrich campus life at every institution they attend."
Under the pilot project, full-time international students will be able to apply for an open work permit if they have completed one year of study at a participating public college or university in New Brunswick. They will be permitted to work off campus for up to 20 hours a week while they are registered as full-time students. Full-time international students in Canada are currently only allowed to work on the campus of the institution at which they are registered, except in Manitoba, which has a similar pilot project in place.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will issue work permits to eligible international students for a period of up to one year at a time. Business New Brunswick will ensure the pilot project is implemented in a consistent manner throughout the province. New Brunswick's publicly funded post-secondary institutions have agreed to monitor student compliance with the project guidelines. Business New Brunswick will act in an advisory capacity and facilitate communications with CIC.
OFF-CAMPUS WORK AGREEMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
The Government of Canada is implementing a series of pilot projects designed to make Canada a destination of choice for international students and to test new approaches to attracting them to study in Canada. The pilot projects are designed to enhance the global competitiveness of Canada's post-secondary academic institutions while giving international students an opportunity to deepen their understanding and appreciation_ of Canadian society.
Current Rules for International Students
Currently, full-time international students are only allowed to work on the campus of the institution at which they are registered unless they have a work permit. The employer can be the institution, the faculty, the student organization, a private business or a private contractor providing services to the institution on the campus.
The Canada-New Brunswick Off-Campus Work Agreement for International Students
Under the agreement, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will issue open work permits to international students registered at a.11 eligible post-secondary institution in New Brunswick, and allow them to work up to 20 hours a week.
International students registered at eligible post-secondary institutions can work for an employer anywhere within the province of New Brunswick. The work permit can be renewed after one year provided the international student continues to meet the eligibility requirements.
Open work permits can be issued to international students who:
have completed a full academic session of study (two consecutive terms) within the previous 12 months at a participating institution;
have been and are registered for full-time studies;
have signed a consent form for the release of personal information and also have a letter of support from the institution;
maintain an acceptable academic standing;
continue to fulfil the terms of their study permits; and have not been previously reported for non-compliance with pilot project conditions.
New Brunswick will ensure the pilot is implemented equally across the province and will sign memorandums of understanding with participating institutions. It will also work with these institutions to ensure all students and employers are aware of how the project works.
Participating institutions will arrange to have each participating student sign a contract indicating that they understand the terms of the pilot and consent to the release of personal information to CIC and the province. Each institution will also ensure that participating students meet the eligibility criteria, and will enforce compliance by not supporting the renewal of students who fail to meet these criteria. As well, postsecondary institutions will verify the status and academic standing of all participating students once a year and issue reports to the project coordinator once each academic term.
This is the second student pilot project implemented in New Brunswick. The first pilot allowed post-graduate students to work in New Brunswick in their field of study for two years after graduation.
There are approximately 2,000 international students currently registered in full-time studies at public post-secondary institutions in New Brunswick.
The Benefits of International Students
There are many benefits for Canada to hosting international students. While studying, talented international students diversify Canadian campuses by facilitating the exchange of ideas and information trom around the world, and provide increased income for Canadian institutions.
When international students return to their own countries, they take with them a better appreciation of Canada, enhancing future possibilities for increased trade and diplomatic linkages. International students who choose to stay in Canada after graduation are an important pool of skilled workers who already possess Canadian credentials, are proficient in at least one official language, and have already integrated into Canadian society.