Minister Gerry Byrne.

On December 2nd, 2021, the Minister of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills, Gerry Byrne, attended a press conference at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) to announce new supports for post-secondary international graduates seeking employment. “Successfully gaining employment in the province enables international graduates to then apply to immigrate permanently,” the news release states.

The news release then states that Medical Care Plan (MCP) coverage, which is already available to international students during their studies, will be extended by 90 days post-graduation. “This policy change makes this medical care coverage among ‘best-in-class’ in Canada. MCP for international students is now aligned with the length of study permits and will provide coverage while graduates seek career opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

They provided additional information on MCP for International Students in “the backgrounder” at the end of the news release.

In addition to extending MCP coverage, Minister Byrne announced $66,847.00 in funding to go towards the Retaining Global Talent project to support international graduates find employment in the province and prepare for the transition to work after graduation. The funding includes the creation of a Postgraduate Retention Coordinator position with the MUN School of Graduate Studies.

Byrne also announced $26,612.76 in funding to expand the award-winning Professional Skills Development Program to include practical work experience for students. “Students who gain local labour market experience during their studies are better equipped to expand their professional connections, leading to improved employment prospects after graduation. This expansion complements other elements of the program, including resume and cover letter workshops, job search and networking exercises, interview preparation and immigration advising,” states the news release.

An additional $27,278.00 was announced to fund the Supporting Newcomers in Newfoundland and Labrador project. “The project will see intercultural training sessions delivered to audiences including the university community, employers and sector groups. The goal is to provide training that will foster a better understanding and appreciation of international students and their unique cultures, leading to improved outcomes for students while they study and after they graduate,” states the release.

The news release states that the newly announced supports build on an already comprehensive set of immigration initiatives that the government launched in the last year in support of their target of welcoming 5,100 permanent residents annually by 2026.

The Government initiatives include:

“Priority Skills Newfoundland and Labrador: a new immigration option for highly educated, highly skilled newcomers with specialized experience in key sectors where demand has outpaced local training and recruitment;

Creating Pathways Job Matching to match employers with full-time, year-round job vacancies with newcomers, including international graduates to secure full time employment in Newfoundland and Labrador;

Investing $3 million to help post-secondary students overcome challenges of securing work terms that were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;

$1 million for additional immigration staff, including personnel to assist employers with immigration, and to help newcomers navigate the immigration system. Staff will also enhance employee capacity in settlement and integration, and diversity, equity and inclusion;

$2 million for promotional and marketing campaigns focused on attracting prospective residents from other parts of Canada and around the world;

More than $2 million over the next two years for a new online application system to make it easier and faster for newcomers to Canada to settle in Newfoundland and Labrador. The system will be user-centered, with enhanced functionality for applicants and employers;

$100,000 to assist newcomers to access to English language testing at Grenfell Campus; and

$357,000 for additional English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors in the K-12 school system, building on investment in additional ESL hires from the two previous budgets;”

The news release ends with a quote from Byrne: “By adopting an all-of-government approach to immigration and increasing our collaboration with organizations and post-secondary institutions such as Memorial University, we are aligning and redoubling efforts across departments and educational institutions, as illustrated today with these supports to help retain highly educated newcomers. There’s a lot of work to do to get to our goal and welcome 5,100 newcomers a year by 2026, and we plan to quickly get on with it.”

The backgrounder on Medical Care Plan for International Students is below:

“The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Care Plan (MCP) is a comprehensive plan of medical care insurance designed to cover the cost of medical insured services for residents of the province.

With today’s announcement, Newfoundland and Labrador offers best-in class coverage for international students in Canada by including covering the 90 day post-graduation period.

In order for International Students to qualify for MCP, they must:

Provide proof of active full time enrolment in an approved Newfoundland and Labrador post-secondary educational institute;

In their first year of study, hold a study permit for at least 365 days issued from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for an approved Newfoundland and Labrador post-secondary educational institute. Dependents must hold valid documentation from IRCC for at least 365 days;

Provided the student has met eligibility criteria in the previous year, in the final year of study, MCP coverage will now be provided 90 days post graduation to align with IRCC study permit documentation; and

Intend to reside in the province for a minimum of 365 days.

Coverage for the international students and their dependant(s) begins on the first day of studies and ends once studies are complete or above requirements are no longer met. Students continue to receive MCP during scheduled breaks between semesters, provided their time outside the province is less than six months. Students whose MCP may expire during their break period should contact MCP to apply for Out of Province/Country coverage.

This is being reviewed to determine if changes are required to better suit the needs of those who study in the province and decide to continue to reside in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Applicants who do not meet the normal eligibility requirements for MCP coverage as outlined above, can be given special consideration due to strong economic, humanitarian, compassionate or other grounds. Each case must be reviewed individually by MCP, with required approval from the Minister of Health and Community Services.”

Matt Barter is a fourth-year student in the Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Memorial University of Newfoundland, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Sociology. He enjoys reading thought-provoking articles, walks in nature, and volunteering in the community.


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