NBSA, city chamber seek to increase international student opportunities

The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and the New Brunswick Student Alliance are collaborating to increase work opportunities for international students.

Robert Burroughs, executive director of the NBSA, said it all started during the spring, when NBSA staff began discussing ways to integrate international students into the labour force.

“The Canadian Chamber of Commerce have their policies and we suggested seven changes to it, but none of them were yet made because we need the approval from the federal government,” said Burroughs.

“But if they are to be made, this will change the view of international students in a visa perspective and in an economic perspective.”

Burroughs said the seven changes for international students include allowing them to apply for the summer jobs program, allowing part-time students to work off-campus, allowing international students to participate in experiential learning without a work permit, extending the post-grad job-search from three to six months, counting citizenship eligibility upon arrival in Canada, changing the length of the post-grad work permit from three to five years and expediting the permanent residency process.

If these changes are made, it will make it easier and quicker for international students to apply for a residence permit.

“There are special roles that allow international students to apply quicker for these documents and this does not happen around the entire country, so we are hoping this is a model for the rest of Canada, so they can start adopting it,” Burroughs said.

Apart from policies that may increase the opportunities for international students to apply for jobs or citizenship, the resolutions will also allow international students to have federally-funded vouchers for summer jobs, according to Burroughs.

Burroughs said the changes will not only be good for international students, but for the New Brunswick and Canadian economy as well.

“I am a Canadian citizen now, but I was born in Singapore and moved here when I was 18 years old. The role that immigrants have in the economy of our communities is incredible,” he said.

“New Brunswick needs a richer and more diverse understanding of itself, and allowing international students to come here will also allow their different experiences to come, and so [the province and country] will be able to prosper culturally and economically.”

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