Winnipeg, MB, September 13, 2007 – Parliamentary Secretary Ed Komarnicki, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Diane McGifford, Manitoba Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy, and Nancy Allan, Manitoba Minister of Labour and Immigration, today announced the implementation of a pilot project that expands the Off-Campus Work Permit Program for international students to include selected private institutions in Manitoba.
As a result of this project, international students in qualifying programs at the Canadian Mennonite University, Providence College and Seminary and William and Catherine Booth College will be eligible to apply for off-campus work permits. Previously, only international students at public universities and colleges were able to apply.
“Canada’s New Government is committed to helping all newcomers to Canada, including those who are here to study,” said Parliamentary Secretary Komarnicki. “This pilot will allow more international students studying in Canada to work off-campus, to contribute to our economy and gain Canadian work experience.”
“There are almost 3,000 international students attending post-secondary schools in Manitoba, many of them at private institutions,” said Minister McGifford. “ The expansion of the Off-campus Work Permit program will mean more international students will bring their skills, knowledge and their own distinctive perspectives to our workplaces.”
“Manitoba pioneered a successful off-campus employment project and was the first Provincial Nominee Program in Canada to allow international students to apply for permanent resident status,” said Minister Allan. “We are proud to build on our partnership with CIC to provide more opportunities for international students to pursue post-secondary education and develop their career potential.”
"Since many of our international students come from the developing world, the Off Campus Work Program will allow them to have a degree of financial independence that has not been available to them previously”, said Booth College President, Donald Burke. “In turn, they will be able to contribute to our community by using the skills they already possess. This program will benefit international students, Booth College and our community-at-large."
The pilot project is being implemented on a province-by-province basis. Following extensive consultations, the Government of Canada and the Province of Manitoba have agreed to implement the project for only those programs and institutions that offer degrees, as recognized or authorized by the Province of Manitoba. Discussions to implement pilots in other provinces are continuing with interested provinces.
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For information about the Off-Campus Work Program, please visit the CIC Web site at: http://www.cic.gc.ca