Free health care for foreign students in Manitoba

Apart from foreign students, their dependents will also be extended such a service by Manitoba. This move by Manitoba will result in an annual savings of around $400 for each foreign student in this Canadian province.

Presently, Manitoba has around 3,200 foreign students studying in various high school or post-secondary institutes who, along with their dependents including spouses, will be eligible for free health coverage.

Manitoba’s free healthcare to allure more foreign students—The latest move of offering free health care by Manitoba is aimed to provide the province an edge in attracting increased number of international students. The government hopes that majority of foreign students opting to study in Manitoba will choose to stay here permanently.

According to vice-president advocate of University of Winnipeg Students’ Association, Tyler Blashko, Manitoba is following British Columbia, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan in providing free health care to international students.

Such a step will facilitate foreign students studying in Manitoba since foreigners are required to pay around two to three times the tuition fee paid by local students, he added. It is an essential requirement for all foreigners studying in Manitoba and students are happy to know about such a facility, affirmed Blashko.

Free healthcare will strain Manitoba’s budget--Meanwhile, Manitoba director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has criticized such a move by the Canadian province for attracting more foreign students.

According to Colin Craig, Manitoba must work towards attracting more international students, but not at such a high cost. The province must keep in view the fact that its debt is already piling up by $50 per second and any decision to provide free health care to international students will complicate financial matters for the province, Craig claimed.

Currently, all foreign students studying in various post-secondary or high schools in Manitoba are required to enroll themselves in private Manitoba International Student Health Insurance Plan.

A fair step—The move to provide free healthcare to foreign students in Manitoba will not cost much and its being regarded as totally fair by chairman of Canadian Federation of Students, Marakary Bayo.

He added that the province must go with the move since foreign students create jobs in the economy and make positive contributions.

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