Province announces new support for college students in highly needed fields

Designated Learning Institution program will issue work permits for international students
Photo: Angel Belair-Poirier
First-year baking student Jane Jane

International students from publicly-funded colleges, such as Algonquin College, will receive priority for allocation of work permits in high-demand jobs to support economic growth and the workforce in Ontario.

Skilled trades, health and human resources, Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM), hospitality and childcare are all fields identified as the most-needed in Ontario.

While employers look for French-speaking employees, French-language education has been recognized as an area of priority with fewer limitations to enrollment.

Students graduating from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) are eligible for a post-secondary work permit. International students must have graduated from a program that is no shorter than six months in duration.

“I will need a work permit, I understand there are online webinars (Student Central) to support students with general concerns, but they directly do not help you with the documentation or the application of any work permit,” said Sara Aracelly Gomez Jara, a hospitality student.

A full list of publicly-funded colleges and universities can be found on the Study in Ontario website.

All students studying outside of their native country must gain a letter of attestation to successfully enroll in a college or university.

“I had received an attestation letter after applying to Algonquin College,” said Omkumar Thakkar, a financial services student.

People can reach out to the administration office of their desired college or university to pursue their studies. While there are still maximum allocations set by the Ontario and federal governments, students’ specific program choice can increase the students’ chances of receiving an attestation letter or “letter of acceptance” to study in Canada.

At present, 811 international students are enrolled in high-demand programs at Algonquin College. “We have 238 international students in Computer Programming, 104 in Computer Engineering Technology and 89 studying in Interactive Media Developer, making those three programs the most popular by far for international students,” said Ernest Mulvey, Director of the International Student Centre.

Student Central, level zero of C-building, is there to assist you.
Student Central level zero of C-Building, is there to assist you. Photo credit: Angel Belair-Poirier

Publicly-funded colleges that deliver education programs through private partnerships will not be eligible for post-secondary work permits. Conestoga College will be the most affected, due to its extensive private partnerships.

To ensure the success of post-secondary education, the government has worked to secure housing options for incoming international students, and invested $32 million in on-site mental health and counselling services. Moreover, the proposed Strengthening Accountability and Student Support Act, 2024 bill could reduce costs and tuition fees for all students.

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