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Importance Of International Students To Atlantic Canada

This article “Importance Of International Students To Atlantic Canada” was originally published on The Conversation.

Anita faced a difficult choice when she finds out she was unexpectedly pregnant.

If she took a term off from campus to care for her baby, her family would lose its dream of living in Canada. So, eight weeks after the summer birth, Anita returned to class full-time.

“I don’t know why they would say no,” Anita said of immigrations’s refusal to extend her student status to cover her maternity leave. “I wasn’t receiving or taking any money from the government. It would not cost them a thing. Why would they say no?”

“I cried every day. It was so difficult. I cried and cried and cried. But I had to go back to school.”

The immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein has always encouraged international students to settle in Canada, and the governments of all four provinces in Atlantic Canada have launched special routes to help international students change to permanent resident status.

But only Eleven (11) per cent of the students who completed their studies from Atlantic Canada universities and colleges are still in the province of their study one year after they become Canadian permanent residents, according to research, by Professor. Michael Haan of the University of Western Ontario.

Students fear breaking the law

A new survey report shows that a fear of running afoul of Canada’s stringent immigration laws is one-factor discouraging the students from staying in the country after graduation.

The International Student Barometer is the biggest survey of international students in the world. More than 2,000 students in Atlantic Canada were included in the new survey, released March 1, 2018.

It is Nannette Ripmeester’s job to explain the results of the survey to institutions, associations, governments and around the world. The biggest challenges in Atlantic Canada, she says, are unrealistic expectation and false perception.

For instance, four in ten (10) international students said they may leave Atlantic Canada after graduation because there is no suitable job in their professional career. But, research indicates that immigrants to Atlantic Canada actually are more successful than immigrants to other regions.

Universities rely on international students

More than 25,000 foreign students currently hold student visas or permits to study in Atlantic Canada. They are keeping universities afloat as domestic enrolment declines; they are an integral part of the regional economy and they are a major source of the immigration required to tackle the region’s rapidly ageing population.

Atlantic universities have become greatly dependent on international students. Enrolment from locals dropped by ten (10) per cent in the past ten (10) years and the proportion of university spaces taken by foreign students has doubled. Some universities, like Cape Breton University and Saint Mary’s, now draw almost a third of their students from oversea countries.

According to research released this winter, international students added about $795 million a year to the economy of Atlantic Canada.

A 2017 survey report authorized by the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents believes that in-province expenditures by international students is Nova Scotia’s fourth-biggest export: Smaller than the seafood industry, but bigger than forestry.

Canada has one of the easiest immigration pathways for international students in the world, yet the survey reveals that international students in Atlantic Canada have the same level of fear around visas and work permits as international students in the United States and in Europe, where it is almost impossible to stay after graduation.

Anita requests that her real name not be published because she’s presently applying for permanent resident status. She fears that publicly discussing her situation might affect her file.

She was caught by a rule that says international students must be engaged in a continuous full-time study to be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

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