The Newfoundland and Labrador government is spending $392,000 on two programs aimed at helping international students and graduates find employment in the province.

The money will be used for the Student Internship Pilot Program and the My First Job in Newfoundland and Labrador Pilot Program, both of which will be delivered by the Association for New Canadians (ANC).

New Canadians enjoy sliding in Pippy Park

Newfoundland and Labrador is hoping to attract 1,700 new Canadians per year by 2022 through its immigration strategy. (CBC)

The internship program connects full-time international students from Memorial University (MUN) or College of the North Atlantic (CNA) with small or medium-sized businesses for a 12 week placement in their field of study.

The My First Job program matches graduates at MUN or CNA with local businesses for a 16-week placement.

Part of immigration strategy

The funding is part of the province's efforts to retain international students and welcome 1,700 immigrants annually by 2022.

Rizza Umali, a student from Dubai currently doing her masters in genetics at MUN, has plans to apply to medical school. She said it was difficult to find work after finishing her biology undergrad.

Umali said the two work placement programs are a great first step at getting people like her to stay in the province.

Rizza Umali

Rizza Umali, who moved to St. John's from Dubai, is currently studying genetics at Memorial University at the masters level. She is also the Executive Director of External Affairs for MUN's Graduate Students' Union. (Submitted by Rizza Umali)

"I do realize that this province has such a shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas and to be able to be part of that and contribute to health care in our province would be a major goal for me," she told the St. John's Morning Show.

Umali said she decided to go to MUN because of its cheap tuition, and believes employment placement programs will only work if the province keeps tuition for international students as low as possible.

"I think it's still important to realize that if folks can't really finish their education and afford to stay and live in poverty because they can't afford tuition fees, there wouldn't be any graduates for these placements," she said.

With files from St. John's Morning Show