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2004-09

CANADA AND SASKATCHEWAN ANNOUNCE A PILOT PROJECT FOR FOREIGN STUDENTS

OTTAWA, May 6, 2004 — Judy Sgro, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and Saskatchewan Immigration Minister Pat Atkinson, today announced the signing of an agreement for a pilot project that will make it easier for foreign students, who graduate from colleges and universities in Saskatchewan, to work in the province for an extra year.

“This project marks a step in our efforts to make Canada a destination of choice for foreign students,” said Minister Sgro. “Not only does it provide more opportunities for graduates in the province to gain valuable work experience, but it also provides an additional incentive for international students considering Saskatchewan to complete their studies.”

The joint agreement, which takes effect on June 1, 2004, will allow foreign graduates in Saskatchewan to gain an additional year of work experience in their field of study. Currently, following graduation, foreign students may work for a maximum of one year in a job related to their studies without having to obtain an opinion from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Under this new agreement, work permits can be renewed for a second year, making it easier for graduates to continue working in the province.

“Saskatchewan’s immigration program is opening up to bring more people to our province, including more foreign students,” said Minister Atkinson. “This will complement changes that come into effect today to allow foreign post-secondary students who graduate in Saskatchewan and get work in their field to apply for the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. There are about 1,700 foreign students studying in Saskatchewan who are eligible to apply for the program, if they find work here after graduation.”

The agreement will ensure that graduate foreign students who wish to apply for permanent resident status will be able to submit their application for immigration 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 that they will settle in Saskatchewan if they choose to remain in Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, both the original work permit and its renewal will apply only to work in Saskatchewan 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 agreement will be in effect for three years during which there will be an ongoing evaluation of the project’s impact. CIC has signed a similar agreement in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta and continues to explore similar initiatives in other regions.

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For more information (media only):

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

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

Anna Arneson
Director, Communications
Saskatchewan Government Relations and Aboriginal Affairs (GRAA)
(306) 787-8008

Visit Saskatchewan’s site at: http://www.gov.sk.ca

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

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BACKGROUNDER
Citizenship and Immigration Canada –
Saskatchewan Agreement on Postgraduate
Employment for Foreign Students

Agreement Highlights

Objective

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

Purpose

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

Agreement Timelines

  • The agreement will be in effect for three years, beginning June 1, 2004.

Renewal of Postgraduate Work Permits

  • CIC will renew, for an additional year, the work permits of recently graduated foreign 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 Saskatchewan for:
    • temporary foreign workers who studied at least two years in that province;
    • who graduated from a publicly funded post-secondary institution in Saskatchewan; and
    • whose first year of postgraduate employment was in Saskatchewan.
  • The renewal is not valid for foreign 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 Saskatchewan will establish outcome measures to monitor and evaluate the success of the agreement in the province.