With the beginning of the fall semester comes the annual influx of international students. But while 35,000 students come to Montreal to study, the city has historically had a difficult time convincing them to stay, something Montreal International is hoping to change.

“We want to improve the results,” said the organization’s students projects director, Mathieu Lefort. “That’s why ‘Je Choisis Montreal’ was launched, to work with the Quebec government and make sure those talents that have a degree or diploma from Quebec stay and contribute to the economy of Quebec.”

 Lefort said that as Quebec’s economy grows, so does the need for skilled labour. To that end, Montreal International holds recruitment events to connect students to businesses, internships and language courses.

“There’s a lot of needs, for example, in video games, video effects. Montreal is a big (artificial intelligence) hub and really well known,” he said.

Oumar Diallo, who came from Niger, via Austria,  to study at the Universite de Montreal, returned to Montreal five years ago to work.

“When I left in 2006, when I finished by BAC degrees, I had this sense I would be back in Montreal,” he said. “Because I fell in love with the city when I arrived here in August, 2003. It was love at first sight.”

Diallo said the city has grown a lot since he studied here and the government and companies are making it easier to get the proper documentation to enter the workforce.

“There are a lot of clusters that are really interesting in Montreal right now, so those are definitely factors that can retain people,” he said. “I also think life quality in Montreal is good and that’s an important factor, especially if you want to build a family.”