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No PGWP For International Students In Unsubsidized Quebec Colleges

Last Updated On 22 August 2023, 10:08 AM EDT (Toronto Time)

On June 7, 2022 IRCC announced the implementation of a measure to protect the integrity of the International Students Program in Quebec.

A new measure to restrict access to the post-graduation work permit for certain graduates of unsubsidized private learning institutions.

The announcement was made by Jean Boulet, Quebec Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration (MIFI) and Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

So, students who start a program of study at the unsubsidized private learning institutions after September 1, 2023, in Quebec will no longer be eligible for a Post-Graduation work permit.

However, students starting their program of study before August 31, 2023, will be eligible for a PGWP, if their program is at least 8 months or 900 hours or longer.

What are Unsubsidized Colleges?

Unsubsidized colleges are for-profit institutions for which the Minister of Higher Education issues a license.

This gives them permission to offer collegial education. Also, such institutions offer one or more short-term programs in a specific field. 

So, students who went to these colleges in Quebec were eligible for a work permit at the end of their studies.

Thus, they could stay and work in Canada for many years. Once this was revealed by Radio-Canada to the government, they launched an investigation.

This confirmed that there were dubious schemes involved in the arrival of these students. Students pay almost $25,000 to take a short training course, exclusively in English.

So, this gave them access to a work permit. Also, students could leave Quebec to settle in any other province. 

What do these Measures Mean for International Students?

The new policy implies that Quebec is closing its immigration pathway available to international students who want to attend unsubsidized private colleges.

So, only those students who have completed a study program in a public or subsidized private college are eligible to get a work permit. 

In 2016–2018, there were around 4,900 work permits issued. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of permits issued jumped to 11,500.

Also, the number of unsubsidized private colleges has increased significantly.

There were 28 in 2015 in Quebec, and in 2020, the number went up to 49.

In other provinces, students who go through an unsubsidized program of study are generally not eligible for this work permit. Thus, it is going to be the same in Quebec now.

How To Check Unsubsidized Colleges

You can visit the Quebec website here and check for the colleges listed under Non-subsidised private establishments.

These colleges will not be eligible for PGWP effective September 2023. Thus, this change is one of the fastest ways to solve the ‘integrity issues’ in the system. 


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