The University of Prince Edward Island is increasing its international student recruitment efforts following significant success in growing its cohort from overseas.
With numbers of Canadian-born undergraduates dropping off in recent years, the school now relies on students from abroad to drive growth in enrollment numbers.
The latest figures from 2015 show 17 per cent of the overall student population is from overseas – or 748 out of total enrollment of 4,317.
UPEI has the fastest growing international student population across the whole of Canada, according to the Canadian Bureau of International Education.
Now it will boost recruitment efforts in key international markets, and take steps to better integrate new international students when they arrive.
What UPEI Intends To Attract and Keep International Students
- Targeted advertising in international markets.
- Participation in international education fairs.
- Helping foreign studies improve language and study skills.
- Creating new international student liaison position to assist students during their study and help them integrate into PEI’s workforce after graduation.
The policy was boosted by the recent move to make it easier for former international students to remain in Canada and begin their working lives after graduation.
Changes to the Express Entry System, due to take effect on November 19, 2016, will see 30 points awarded for those with a three-year degree, master’s, professional degree or doctorate from a Canadian university and for which most of the studies were completed in Canada.
Candidates completing a one or two-year course will get 15 extra points.
Source: University of Prince Edward Island
The move is likely to jump international graduates up the queue in the Express Entry Pool. Immigration Minister John McCallum has gone on record as saying he believes international graduates are the blue-chip pool of new immigrants, given their knowledge of Canadian life, language skills and recognized qualifications.
The federal government is committing nearly $500,000 to help fund the UPEI initiative as part of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, while a further $50,000 will be provided by the PEI provincial government.
Prince Edward Island is leading the rest of Atlantic Canada in turning around its aging population.
Canada’s smallest province boosted its population of under 45-year-olds to 76,516 in 2016, greater than 2013 levels and significantly more than 2015 numbers.
It is one of only two Atlantic provinces (the other being Nova Scotia), to have a greater 2016 population of under-45s than 2015, as immigration policies aimed at countering its aging population and shrinking labour force start to take hold.
Atlantic Canada’s provincial premiers and the federal government jointly announced an initiative to welcome 2,000 more skilled immigrants under their Provincial Nominee Programs from 2017.
The move will see an almost 50 per cent rise in the number of candidates welcomed to New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador.
Those numbers could increase in 2018 and 2019 if the expansion is viewed as a success.
The new immigrants are expected to be chosen based on the skills required by the respective provinces.
It is part of a new Atlantic Growth Strategy, aimed at boosting the economy in eastern Canada in five priority areas:
- Skilled workforce and immigration
- Clean growth and climate change
- Trade and investment
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