Canada: Quebec has closed the immigration route for graduates of non-subsidized private colleges.
June 10, 2022


Foreign graduates of several private colleges in the Province of Quebec would virtually lose post-graduate employment options as a result of a joint declaration by the Canadian government and Quebec's provincial government.

The Quebec Ministry of Labour, Employment, and Social Solidarity, as well as the federal Ministry of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), announced a new restriction on post-graduation work permit eligibility on June 7, 2022. Only graduates of publicly funded institutions, including universities and public and private colleges, will be eligible for a work permit under this new clause.

This effectively means that graduates of non-subsidized private colleges will be unable to work in Canada after completing their education. The new rule will take effect on September 1, 2023.

“Canada recognizes the tremendous social, cultural and economic benefits that international students bring to this country,” said Sean Fraser, Canada’s Minister of Immigration. “Making the change that Quebec requested to post-graduation work permit eligibility will improve the integrity of the program, bring Quebec’s private institutions further in line with those of other provinces and protect our well‑deserved reputation as a destination of choice for international students.”

For Indian students, this is a popular option.

In the years leading up to the epidemic, the number of Indian students enrolling in Quebec colleges increased dramatically, rising from less than 3,000 in 2017/18 to nearly 15,000 in 2019/20. The majority of that expansion, as shown in the graphic below from CBC News, was centered on unsubsidized private colleges in the province – that is, privately held post-secondary institutes that do not get any public financing.


Enrolment of Indian students in post-secondary education in Quebec, 2017/18–2019/20. Source: CBC News

Questions have been posed.

The move follows persistent questions around the management of some private colleges in the province. A 2021 investigation by Quebec’s Ministry of Higher Education found significant issues with “certain unsubsidised private colleges.” Those audits, Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann said at the time, revealed “questionable practices in terms of recruitment, business practices, governance and teaching conditions.”

The Minister added that the province would be taking steps to strengthen oversight for private colleges in Quebec, and the joint Quebec/IRCC announcement this week appears to be a broad brush approach to limit post-graduate work opportunities for students coming out of unsubsidised colleges – the idea being that the prospect of a post-graduate work permit has been a major draw for recruiting international students to those institutions.

“It is important to take action to protect the integrity of our immigration programs, which must promote sustainable integration into Quebec society,” Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity Jean Boulet said this week. “These adjustments will help attract international students to come study in all regions of Quebec and ensure that Quebec is not used as a gateway for settling in other provinces.”

Minister McCann added, “A number of incidents pertaining to the recruitment of international students have occurred in the past and have caused us great concern. I am confident that these adjustments will make it easier for the international student community to integrate into our society.”

Three private colleges in Quebec filed for creditor protection earlier this year, in a high-profile case within the sector. M College (Montreal), CDE College (Sherbrooke), and CCSQ (Longueuil and Sherbrooke) were all owned by the same company. M College and CDE, two of the three, were among ten colleges previously restricted from enrolling international students for parts of 2020 and 2021 due to concerns about questionable recruiting techniques in India.

Transparency is demanded.

Industry players have quickly pointed out that, while the attempt to limit access to post-study work permits for all unsubsidized universities is necessary, it has the unintended consequence of unfairly targeting all colleges in the industry.

The National Association of Career Colleges (NACC) has issued a statement calling on the Quebec government to be more transparent and to work with the college sector to build more effective and focused quality controls.

“The NACC and our member institutions in Quebec are very disappointed by today’s announcement by the Quebec Government and Government of Canada,” said NACC CEO Michael Sangster.

“Regulated Career Colleges play an important role the Quebec and Canadian economies, both of which are in desperate need of skilled workers to fill labour gaps in critical industries. This measure is a step backward in our country’s International Student Policy and economic recovery.

Our industry has, for many months, tried to engage the Quebec government to understand their questions or concerns pertaining to the post-graduate work permit and find workable solutions together, but they have not responded to our calls nor shared any information about their investigation and the substance of their report. Now, this report is the basis for drastic policy change that will seriously impact and unfairly target our international learners, high-skilled graduates, and the employers who rely on them.

A more effective step to protecting the integrity of the International Student Program in Quebec would be to transparently release the Quebec government’s report on this matter and consult with Regulated Career Colleges and all stakeholders, including industry, who will be impacted by this decision.”

Source: ICEF

News for you
Canada to introduce new rules around off-campus work hours for international students

May 06, 2024

Canada to stabilize growth and decrease number of new international student permits issued to approximately 360,000 for 2024

May 06, 2024

The competitiveness of Canada is threatened by ongoing visa delays

January 11, 2023

According to recent data, the number of international applicants and first-time enrollees for US graduate programs has increased

January 11, 2023

For international students, Canada has lifted the restriction on off-campus job hours.

January 11, 2023

Are the benefits of US community colleges known by too few international students?

January 11, 2023

Recent information on Australia's student visa program is presented in a report from the Department of Home Affairs.

July 25, 2022

According to a poll, students are drawn to Canada most by its reputation for quality and safety.

July 25, 2022

The majority of US institutions report an increase in the number of applications from foreign students for 2022–2023

July 25, 2022

Canada: Quebec has closed the immigration route for graduates of non-subsidized private colleges.

June 10, 2022

Immigrating to Canada: What You Need to Know

June 09, 2022

Visa processing delays are a challenge for this year's major study abroad locations.

May 26, 2022

Identifying skills gaps in the labor market in popular study locations

May 19, 2022

In early 2022, IELTS will debut a new online test

May 12, 2022

Canada: Immigration stream reopens, work permits extended for some students

May 05, 2022

The government of Saskatchewan has launched a first-of-its-kind education training program

March 17, 2022

Important information about your approved temporary resident visa or super visa and Canada’s travel restrictions due to COVID-19

March 17, 2022

Forecast projects major growth in international enrolments through 2030

March 15, 2022

Canada announces new immigration targets that shatter all previous records, with international grads being a top emphasis.

March 14, 2022

More international STEM students will be awarded three-year OPTs in the United States

February 10, 2022

Travel updates for international students

January 25, 2022

Omicron variant already impacting international student mobility

December 07, 2021

Australia to welcome all fully vaccinated students from 1 December

November 24, 2021

Government of Canada announces adjustments to Canada’s border measures

November 22, 2021

In 2021, Canadian immigration reports a rise in applications for study permits

November 22, 2021

Australian conference highlights new thinking about international education

November 19, 2021

Australia: An overview of international student return plans

November 19, 2021

US: International enrolments fell sharply in 2020 but are now rebounding

November 19, 2021

Beginning in November, fully vaccinated travelers will be allowed entry into the United States

November 18, 2021