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OTTAWA, April 18, 2005 — The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, is pleased to build on the success of Canada’s international study program by announcing new initiatives to better attract, integrate and retain international students in regions throughout the country.

In partnership with provinces and territories, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is expanding two pilot initiatives to help make Canada a destination of choice for international students. The first will allow international students at public post-secondary institutions to work off-campus while completing their studies so that they can experience the Canadian labour market and gain a wider understanding of Canadian society. The second will allow students to work for two years, rather than one year, after their graduation. This second initiative will apply outside Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver to help spread the benefits of immigration to more of Canada’s regions.

Through past pilot projects and agreements with CIC, some provinces have already experienced the success of the initiatives, which are now being expanded throughout Canada. The Government of Canada is investing $10 million a year for five years to support this announcement.

“We have been listening to our stakeholders and are certain that these initiatives will help increase the global competitiveness of Canada by attracting and retaining more international students to our schools,” said Minister Volpe. “International Students who choose to stay in Canada after they graduate greatly contribute to our labour market. It is important that they be exposed to the Canadian work force at an early stage to increase their chances of success following graduation.”

“Whether they choose to stay in Canada or return to their home country, they will have acquired Canadian experience and values that will enrich their lives. They will also spread the word about the quality of education Canada has to offer,” added the Minister.

CIC has also made other adjustments to its international study program. For example:

  • Post-secondary international students can now transfer between programs of study and institutions without applying for a change to the conditions of their study permit.
  • Secondary-level international students can now obtain longer high-school study permits.

As of May 16, 2005, international students who meet the eligibility criteria for a second year of post-graduation employment will be issued a two-year work permit. For these students, the two-year work permit will only be valid for one year since they will have already completed their first year of post-graduate work.

As with existing pilot projects, the off-campus work initiative will be implemented bilaterally in each province and territory, following agreements with CIC.

For more information on today’s announcement or on how to obtain a permit to study in Canada, please visit CIC’s Web site at


For more information (media only):

Stephen Heckbert
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
(613) 954-1064

Maria Iadinardi
Media Relations
Communications Branch
(613) 952-0740