1.0 Purpose and Objectives
1.1 The purpose of this Annex is to establish the commitment of Canada and British Columbia to co-operate in developing and implementing pilot projects pertaining to international students that will facilitate processing; enhance employment opportunities and contributions; and, support the entry of international students to regions across British Columbia.
1.2 Pilot projects to be developed and implemented include:
- the facilitation of the processing of Study Permits at selected Visa offices abroad to students of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) who have obtained a British Columbia High School Diploma (Dogwood Certificate) in a British Columbia certified school, and who wish to pursue a post-secondary education in Canada; and
- arrangements to extend post-graduation work permit provisions by one year, thereby allowing recently graduated international students from designated British Columbia institutions to gain work experience related to their field of study for up to two years when employment is secured in regions outside the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area.
1.3 Canada and British Columbia will continue to explore the development of other student initiatives for future implementation as determined jointly, including arrangements for issuance of work permits to allow certain international post-secondary students to work off-campus.
2.0 Goals for Consideration in the Development of Pilot Projects and Other Student Initiatives
2.1 Test processing improvements at participating visa offices abroad to assess potential of wider applicability.
2.2 Maintain the integrity of Canada’s international student program through monitoring, reporting and evaluation. A key component would be the ability to gather case-specific information on international students who enter Canada under these pilot projects.
2.3 Recognize British Columbia’s long-term economic development objectives through the international student movement. International students can help forge and develop future trade, business and educational links between British Columbia/Canada and other countries.
2.4 Ensure effective partnerships develop and consultations occur among British Columbia, Canada and the pertinent post-secondary educational institutions to facilitate sharing of information and improve the international student program, while taking into account special challenges and issues institutions may face.
2.5 Specific to facilitated processing for students with Dogwood certificates:
- recognize British Columbia’s goal of supporting the Offshore School Certification Program; and
- manage the number of international students processed under the initiative. The processing of Study Permits under the pilot will all be done through selected visa offices in the PRC. While estimates have been made for expected demand for service under the project, efforts will be pursued to manage the number of participants in the event that student applications far exceed expectations.
3.1 Joint evaluation frameworks will be established through consultation with Canada, British Columbia and relevant post-secondary education institutions.
4.0 Information Sharing
4.1 Canada and British Columbia will establish information sharing arrangements, in accordance with applicable federal and provincial legislation, regarding processing and other information that will support the implementation of the pilot projects.
5.1 The start date and duration of the pilot projects is to be determined jointly. Parties are committed to implementing the pilots as early as possible and will submit plans for working arrangements and strategies to the Program Management Committee within six (6) months of the signing of this Agreement, with the exception of facilitated issuance of study permits for PRC students with Dogwood Certificates which will begin implementation in part in April 2004 for students applying for the 2004/05 academic year.
5.2 The implementation and specific terms of each of the pilot projects will be negotiated through separate agreements between Canada and British Columbia.
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