Montreal wants its international students to stay
The Canadian metropolis needs more skilled labour. Source: Université de Montréal/Facebook

Here’s another reason to love Canada.

“Je Choisis Montreal,” which translates to “I choose Montreal” in English, is a campaign by Montreal International to help international students live, work and emigrate to the metropolis after graduating from their regional college or university.

The initiative, offered in collaboration with the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI), seeks to stem the exodus of international students leaving Montreal after completing their studies.

Speaking to CTV News, the organisation’s Student Projects Director, Mathieu Lefort said: “We want to improve the results…That’s why ‘Je Choisis Montreal’ was launched, to work with the Quebec government and make sure those talents that have a degree or diploma from Quebec stay and contribute to the economy of Quebec.”

Montreal is a favourite study destination for international students. In the 2018 QS ranking of Best Student Cities, it placed first place among the best student cities in the Americas and takes fourth spot worldwide. Millennials rank it as the 2nd best city on the globe in Nestpick’s 2018 Millennial Cities Ranking.

More students are coming to Montreal to study, too. In 2017, the city hosted more than 33,000 international students, a 10 percent increase compared on numbers for the previous year.

But the city’s been struggling to retain such talent after graduation. Skilled labour is in demand as the city’s economy grows, according to Lefort.

“There’s a lot of needs, for example, in video games, video effects. Montreal is a big (artificial intelligence) hub and really well known,” he said.

This explains the organisation’s efforts in connecting students to businesses, internships and language courses. Working closely with school boards, colleges and universities, Montreal International also conducts information sessions on campuses and online, shedding light on how international graduates can become a permanent resident with MIDI.

38-year-old Fei Gao from China grew fond of Greater Montreal during her work trips to the metropolis. Having learned about the Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ  ̶  Québec experience program), which facilitates international students in getting their permanent residence after graduating from a study program in Québec, she left China four years ago to enroll in a master’s degree in international relations at a Montréal university.

She said: “Here we enjoy a good quality of life. Shanghai is overpopulated: there, people live on top of one another and life is very restricted. Here, I feel like I can slow down my pace. I feel free to do whatever I want.”

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