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REF NO.: 357

SUBJECT: Memorial University’s president believes university can help solve province’s immigration challenges
DATE: July 4, 2005

Memorial University can play an important role in attracting immigrants to Newfoundlandand Labrador, says Dr. Axel Meisen, president of the province’s only university.

Dr. Meisen was commenting in the wake of the release of the provincial government’s discussion paper, An Immigration Strategy for Newfoundlandand Labrador: Opportunityfor Growth.

“Our province and its opportunities are not well known around the world and few immigrants therefore think of coming here. Our first challenge is to bring bright, talented prospective immigrants here and give them time to learn about us,” he said. Memorial Universitycurrently has about 800 international students, about half of whom are undergraduate students. The university’s target is 1,200 international undergraduate students and the target for international graduate students is under review.

“Memorial University provides a comfortable and effective gateway to our province,” Dr. Meisen said. “International students come to the university for several years, during which time they settle into our society and acquire proficiency in English. At the time of graduation, they possess the right qualifications for employment and professional practice. They are therefore well suited for making our province their home and many international students would like to do just that.

“Given the changing demographics of Newfoundlandand Labrador, Memorial Universityhas the capacity to enroll more international students without fear of displacing local students. Attracting more international students is an effective way of addressing the province’s demographic problem of an aging population and achieving its objectives of attracting increased numbers of immigrants.”

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