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OTTAWA, May 6, 2004 — Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Jamie Muir, Minister of Education for Nova Scotia, today announced a pilot project that will make it easier for international students who graduate from Nova Scotia colleges and universities to work in the province for an extra year.

“This pilot project will increase Canada’s appeal to international students and encourage immigration to Nova Scotia,” said Minister Sgro. “It gives foreign graduates the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience in their field of study that will serve them well when they return to their country of origin or choose to remain in Canada as immigrants.”

The pilot project, which began on May 3, 2004, will allow international students in Nova Scotia to gain an additional year of work experience in their field of study following graduation. Currently, graduates may work for a maximum of one year in a job related to their studies without having to obtain a confirmation from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Under this pilot project, work permits can be renewed for a second year, making it easier for graduates to continue working in the province.

“We are pleased to work with our federal partners to expand work experience opportunities for international students in Nova Scotia,” said Minister Muir. “This pilot project will enable students to double their work experience with Nova Scotian employers, and help narrow the skills gap by meeting the needs of Nova Scotia’s labour market, as part of the provincial skills strategy, Skills Nova Scotia.”

For graduates who wish to apply for permanent resident status as skilled workers, an extra year of employment will provide them with additional experience points on the selection grid. Furthermore, they will be able to submit their applications and continue working while awaiting a decision. For these graduates, additional time spent in the province is also likely to result in stronger ties to their communities — further increasing the likelihood of their settling in Nova Scotia if they choose to remain in Canada.

Under the terms of the project, both the original work permit and its renewal will apply only to work in Nova Scotia for temporary foreign workers who graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in that province. The work must be related to the graduate’s area of study.

The pilot project will be in effect for three years during which there will be an ongoing evaluation of the project’s impact. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has already signed similar agreements in New Brunswick and Alberta and continues to explore such initiatives in other regions.


For more information:

Citizenship and Immigration Canada:
Simone MacAndrew
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Claire Despins
Media Relations
Communications Branch
(613) 941-7035

Ministry of Education, Nova Scotia
Leanne Strathdee
Communications Advisor
(902) 424-0011

Visit Nova Scotia Internet site:

>>> Canada–Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding on Post-Graduation Employment for Foreign Students


Canada–Nova Scotia Pilot Project
on Postgraduate Employment for
International Students



  • To allow recently graduated international students from Nova Scotia public post-secondary institutions to acquire extended work experience related to their field of study, through enhanced employment opportunities in Nova Scotia.


  • Both Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Ministry of Education in Nova Scotia recognize the economic, social and cultural contributions of international students to Nova Scotia.
  • CIC has committed to developing projects that will encourage immigration in a number of regions in Canada.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia is committed to encouraging immigration, including the admission of international students to the province.
  • Providing a means for graduates to gain Canadian work experience in their field of study that will serve them well when they return to their country of origin or if they choose to remain in Canada as immigrants.
  • Graduates who remain in Canada can be an attractive source of skills for Canadian employers.

Project Timelines

  • The project began on May 3, 2004 and will end in three years.

Renewal of the Postgraduate Work Permit

  • CIC will renew, for an additional year, the work permits of recently graduated international students who are currently working as temporary foreign workers and who intend to continue to work in a field related to their studies.
  • The renewal will be valid for work in Nova Scotia for temporary foreign workers:
    • who studied at least two years in that province;
    • who have graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia; and
    • whose first year of postgraduate employment was in Nova Scotia.
  • The renewal is not valid for international students on a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship Program, a Government of Canada Awards Program, or who are funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

Project Evaluation

  • CIC and Nova Scotia will establish outcome measures to monitor and evaluate the success of the pilot project in the province.