The Regina University fraternity calls Sask. Government to better retain international students
The Saskatchewan NDP introduced University of Regina students during a news conference Thursday to voice criticism of the provincial government’s poor international student retention.
“Our common goal is for our international students and workers to stay in the province, extend their roots here, and pay taxes… for many decades to come,” said Navjot Kaur, president of the University of Regina Student Union.
Kaur said she speaks on behalf of the 16,000 students at the University of Regina and called on the provincial government to increase student funding to reduce student debt, reduce tuition and increase scholarships, and provide better transit and accessibility services.
“The government should also eliminate honors fees for international students and create a direct route for permanent residency for international students so as to keep a talented and skilled workforce in the province,” she said.
Kaur argues that both will boost local economies by opening up the workforce to students and putting their dollars into local businesses.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2010-2016 graduate data, Saskatchewan had a high one-year international student retention rate — 76 percent — but it had declined sharply to 53 percent five years after the students graduated.
Kaur, who is enrolled in a master’s program in chemistry, said she came to Canada hoping for better job security after graduation, but has since struggled to achieve that goal in Saskatchewan.
As she searched for healthcare and pharmaceutical research jobs, Kaur said she found careers that best suited her education in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.
“I’d really like to stay in the provinces if I get a good job here,” Kaur said.
She currently works at McDonald’s.
The NDP criticized the provincial government for having the worst immigration rates in the province west of Atlantic Canada.
“With Scott Moe at the wheel, new families and guest workers – doctors, craftsmen – are leaving,” said NDP chairwoman Carla Beck.
Provincial Immigration Secretary Jeremy Harrison fired back when he asked a question about immigration during a news conference at Saskatoon Airport.
He called the NDP’s record “terrible,” citing the total population loss between the NDP taking power in 1991 and falling from power in 2007.
Harrison touted the province’s population growth and attributed “international immigration, and that is largely the result of the success of our provincial nominee program — our provincial immigration program — which the NDP never had.”