Changes will help international students
New rules let them work off-campus while completing their studies
By Colleen MacPherson
When the details are finalized, University of Saskatchewan recruiters will be able to add two items to the list of enticements used to attract international students to Canada, thanks to recent changes made by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
“It’s all good news,” said Director of Enrolment Laurie Pushor, when asked about the changes that are expected to enhance the competitiveness of this country’s education industry.
Among the series of measures announced April 18 is a provision allowing international students to work off-campus while completing their studies.
A second change will allow students to work a second year in Canada after graduation as long as they work outside Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The federal government is investing $10 million per year over five years to support this change.
According to a news release, the government hopes that granting a second year of work to international students living outside the nation’s major centres will “spread the benefits of immigration to more regions in Canada”.
Pushor said both changes will have a positive influence for a number of reasons. Allowing undergraduate and graduates a second year of work is “really important,” he said, “because many are interested in obtaining some direct experience before returning to where they are from.”
He added that when students were allowed only one year, they often saw a large chunk of that time used up just getting through the red tape and paperwork. Having a second year “makes it that much more meaningful in terms of them finding opportunities”.
In addition to relieving some of the isolation international students would naturally feel when restricted to studying and working on campus, the measure allowing off-campus employment will be financially beneficial for many, said Pushor.
Both undergraduate and graduate students experience “significantly higher costs” than Canadian students. This reflects not only the differential tuition but also the fact “they’re living halfway around the world from their home” with higher-than-normal expenses for things like travel and telephone charges.
“It’s really beneficial for international students to work part-time to assist them in funding their education, but it’s also the case that most of these students are looking for an opportunity to be more engaged in Canadian life and Canadian culture.”
Pushor said the University will await the regulatory work that is required before these changes are fully implemented by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, but the timing is good.
“We will need to revise our messaging in our print materials and our web materials but because we’ll begin recruiting in the fall of 2005 for September 2006, we’ve already begun revising that material.”