A new pilot program will help international students stay and build a life in Nova Scotia after they graduate.
Premier Stephen McNeil announced the Stay in Nova Scotia initiative today, Oct. 15, at a retreat with students and EduNova officials at the Annapolis Basin Conference Centre in Cornwallis. West Nova MP Colin Fraser represented the federal government.
“Helping international students stay in Nova Scotia will strengthen our province,” said Premier McNeil. “We want more young people to choose Nova Scotia as a place to live and work after they graduate. This initiative will help make that happen.”
The pilot project will provide targeted support and services to 50 international students during their final year of post-secondary studies. Many of these students are completing their studies in priority areas for the province like health care, computer engineering, and ocean sciences.
Their support will include career mentoring and access to employment-related events, activities, and workshops. A new subsidy will help local employers offset the cost of hiring participating students for a work-term after they graduate.
“The Government of Canada understands that immigration is fundamental to building strong communities and improving the region’s ability to compete in the global market,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). “International students who stay in the province play a significant role in meeting skill shortages, fueling economic development and improving Nova Scotia’s prospects.”
The province and ACOA will invest $288,812 each in the pilot program. Funds will cover customized training and workshops, the employers’ subsidy, and the costs to hire a program co-ordinator.
Government also continues to support Nova Scotia students who are studying at home. Provincial student loans are interest free. Thousands of dollars are available as upfront bursaries and grants that students do not have to repay. In addition the Loan Forgiveness Program can completely wipe out a graduate’s Nova Scotia student loan.
The Stay in Nova Scotia pilot will be managed by EduNova, a co-operative industry association of education and training providers in Nova Scotia and a leader in collaborative international recruitment activities.