Study and Stay Program



Study and Stay is an international student attraction and retention pilot program currently being delivered in Nova Scotia by EduNova. The initiative is open to international students in community colleges and universities.

The Atlantic provincial governments, with support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada, have agreed in principle to expand the Study and Stay throughout the region to attract and retain international students and adapt it to meet the specific needs of those provinces. The expansion of the program throughout the region will be tailored to provincial needs and will complement existing service offerings.

Expanding the Study and Stay concept will support work under the Atlantic Growth Strategy’s skilled workforce/immigration pillar, enhancing the region’s capacity to attract and retain a skilled workforce and meet regional labour market needs.

How it will work

International students are recruited into the Study and Stay Program to pursue their university or college studies. The length of the program coincides with the full duration of the student’s studies – four years for university and two years for community college.

Complementary to what is already in place for Canadian students, international students receive enhanced support to ensure they gain the education, tools, and community connections they need to graduate and launch a successful career and fulfilling life in the province.

The pan-Atlantic initiative will focus on two key areas:

  • Attracting and recruiting international students: Recruitment efforts will consider provincial needs, educational programs and primary language-of-instruction, and unique opportunities (e.g., partnerships with countries, institutions). The program will also focus on providing supports necessary to persuade students to remain enrolled in their post-secondary institution of choice.

  • Facilitating international students’ integration and retention into the workforce and communities: National and provincial programs and services will be used to connect participants with employers, address employment barriers, and provide knowledge and experiential opportunities.

    This component could enhance language and soft skills, employment readiness, entrepreneurship skills, professional networks, and Canadian work experience.

The Study and Stay concept supports participants as they transition from “student” to “professional” over the course of their studies. Support and career transition tools are focused on specific tasks that include employment-readiness events, workshops, and a career mentorship and experiential workplace learning component.

The program is meant to augment the support structures already in place at each educational institution, boost the students’ practical knowledge and skills, and help them overcome impediments such as cultural, social, and language barriers that may place them at an educational and competitive disadvantage.

The positive long-term economic benefits of this initiative will counter outmigration through international student attraction, retention, and permanent residency outcomes that result in employment and entrepreneurship growth, which are all key tenets of the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

In addition to economic benefits, Study and Stay is a unique initiative that demonstrates the region’s commitment to inclusive growth where newcomers are welcomed, celebrated and supported.


International students who are interested in pursuing university, college or post-graduate studies at a provincially designated learning institution in Atlantic Canada will be invited to participate. Students should be eligible for enrolment in a community college diploma program or university undergraduate, masters, or doctorate program.

As well, international students who are currently studying at provincial high schools could become eligible if they intend to pursue post-secondary studies in the region.

Applicants must be accepted into their chosen post-secondary institutions to receive conditional acceptance into the Study and Stay program. Final acceptance would be given once the applicant receives the appropriate study permit by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Study and Stay could also provide optional supports to assist international students in accessing existing immigration programs in the Atlantic Provinces through immigration programs such as the Provincial Nominee Programs and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. These immigration programs may allow recent university or community college graduates to be nominated or apply for permanent resident status if they intend to settle and work in the province.

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