intl background THE UNIVERSITY Many factors have contributed to the influx of international students to Cape Breton, but at the centre of it all is the island’s only university — Cape Breton University (CBU), located in Sydney. From humble beginnings a decade ago, aimed at combatting a declining domestic enrolment, to a recent boom, the school has grown its international population to approximately 1,000 students — nearly 30% of the overall student body. CBU’s International Enrolment Breakdown — No. 1 - Saudi Arabia with 43% — No. 2 – China with 41% — No. 3 – Nigeria with 3%. The remaining percentages are made up of small numbers of students from a number of different countries. Approximately 350 students also attended the International Centre for English Academic Preparation (ICEAP) in Glace Bay, from Sept. 2012 – Sept. 2013, working to meet the language requirements for enrolment at Cape Breton University. Students typically spend between 6 – 12 months at ICEAP, depending on their level of English competency upon entry. Many spend that time living in homestays with locals in Glace Bay — hoping to ease their transition while becoming immersed in the language and local culture. CONNECTIONS TO IMMIGRATION According to the Canadian federal government, nearly 100,000 students come to study in Canada annually. The government also projects that up to 10,000 international student grads and skilled foreign workers will become permanent residents through a Citizenship and Immigration Canada stream called the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) in 2013. “The CEC is currently the fastest growing economic stream, as Canada seeks to capitalize on the Canadian work experience and language skills these individuals possess.” – Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. Nova Scotia also has its own strategy for attracting new immigrants to the province. The Nova Scotia Nominee Program, a partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, enables successful applicants to receive permanent Canadian residency much faster and with fewer restrictions than most federal streams. In early 2013 the nominee program included the following streams: Skilled Worker, Family Business Worker, Community-Identified, Non-dependent Children of Nominees, Agri-Food Sector and International Graduate. The province says that since 2011, 465 international graduates applied for permanent residency through the provincial nominee program. Over the course of creating this documentary, many students said that Nova Scotia’s fast-track nominee program was a major attraction — playing a role, at least in part, in their decision to study in Cape Breton. For some, it was the only reason they considered Cape Breton in the first place. However, in the spring of 2013, the international graduate stream was eliminated from the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. Provincial officials indicate that the cancellation was aimed at eliminating an overlap with the federal CEC program. The reasoning was also based on retention rates and Nova Scotia's labour market needs ... "dialogue has indicated that nominees under different streams such as the skilled worker and family business worker, tend to stay in NS to a greater extent than international grads. Our provincial nominee program will be focused on attracting young, professional skilled immigrants based on the needs of our labour market. International graduates will be encouraged to apply for permanent residency through the federal Canadian Experience Class and we will assist them through this process."- Heather MacDougall, Director of Programs and Corporate Initiatives with the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, April, 2013.