The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration recently introduced a new division of its Provincial Nominee Program. The International Graduate stream was launched in response to the immigration strategy consultations that the Office of Immigration has been conducting with employers around the province.

With approximately 3,600 foreign students attending Nova Scotia’s colleges and universities, the International Graduate stream aims to retain these students upon graduation, so that they may contribute to the Nova Scotia work force and community. Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Provincial Minister of Immigration, explains that, “having studied here, international students already have their credentials recognized. They have established themselves in the local community, are familiar with life in Nova Scotia and want to build their careers here.” The program is employer driven and focuses on international graduates who intend to settle permanently in Nova Scotia.

In order to qualify, applicants must have a job offer in their field of study from a Nova Scotia employer that is guaranteed, full-time and permanent. They must be working for that employer before the Provincial Nomination application is submitted. The applicants must have received a diploma, certificate or degree from a recognized Nova Scotia post-secondary education within the past two years, having completed a full-time program of study. Additionally, applicants must have legal status in Canada, they must have sufficient financial supports, and must meet the minimum qualification requirements for the position and the minimum age, education, and language ability requirements for the International Graduate stream.

Based on similar programs in other provinces, Nova Scotia hopes to retain five to ten per cent of its international students. 2,600 immigrants settled in the province in 2006. The Nova Scotia Office of Immigration hopes to increase that number to 3,600 by 2010, with a retention rate of 70 per cent.

Sources: Government of Nova Scotia and The Chronicle Herald