The Newfoundland and Labrador government's recent hiring freeze on the public service is a cause for concern for some university students.

Robert Leamon, president of Memorial University's Grenfell Campus student union in Corner Brook, said if the freeze stays in place for long, career opportunities are going to suffer and youth may be forced to leave the province.

"If a student is hoping to stay in the region, then they're going to need to be able to find some job because of [their] debt," Leamon said.

He said Newfoundland and Labrador is a shining example of government making post-secondary education a priority, and it would be an unfortunate shift in the wrong direction to change it.

"There are a number of programs that just can't be covered by the private sector because they're only things that are covered by the public sector, in term of programs like education and nursing," Leamon said.

"So there are a number of students that could potentially be left out in the cold in this."

Leamon said it is hard to know exactly how students will be impacted by the freeze until government releases more details.

Government issued an all-staff memo on Monday informing the public service that all hiring has been suspended. Only essential positions will be filled, and even then they must meet the approval of Finance Minister Jerome Kennedy.

Kennedy said earlier this week that he hopes the freeze will not last long.