Love it but leave it: Foreign PhD students call for changes to let them stay in N.L.

I don’t understand the problem. They should have access to a Post-Graduate Work Permit (the Canadian equivalent to the US OPT visa), which would allow them to work and then transition to permanent residency.

Am I missing something?:

It took Foroogh Mohammadi a while to get used to the Newfoundland weather.

Five years ago she traded the hot temperatures of Iran for cool and blustery St. John’s

“I got used to it because the warmth of the people and the culture and and everything in the city warm our hearts,” she said.

Mohammadi, along with her husband Pouya Morshedi, are doing their PhDs in sociology at Memorial University.

They came for an education, but now it’s home.

“I love St. John’s and as I said, I love the people. So I definitely would love to stay here,” she said.

“Unfortunately because of very different challenges we face, we have to leave the province. We have no other choice than leaving the province.”

For Mohammadi, after graduation an academic job is one likely path, but it’s almost impossible for her to get in Canada; Memorial University, like other Canadian universities, looks at applications for citizens and permanent residents first — but in order to get permanent residency she needs to have a job.

She’s not alone in her struggle.

Sanaz Nabavian is facing the same predicament. She’s also from Iran, completing her PhD in management information systems.

She’s started a petition to try to change the rules.

“I’m not calling it discrimination, but it’s like a a problem. It’s a barrier,” she said.

Nabavian is starting a business, developing a software tool to help companies like contractors compare pricing on products they need for projects.

She wants to build the business here instead of getting a job with a company, making it harder for her to get permanent residency.

In a statement to CBC News, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada says PhD candidates could receive high scores in its Express Entry system for their language skills and education but can also apply for work through the provincial nominee program and the Atlantic immigration program.

Source: Love it but leave it: Foreign PhD students call for changes to let them stay in N.L.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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