Quebec International Students At Private Colleges To No Longer Qualify For PGWP

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Canada immigration news: Quebec is ending access to Post-Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) for international students graduating from unsubsidized private colleges.

The move is to bring the French-speaking province in line with Canada’s other provinces and prevent it from being used as a back door to permanent residency.

The PGWP is a crucial step for foreign students wishing to gather the required work experience to qualify to settle in Canada permanently.

Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet said the province was concerned these unsubsidized private colleges were attracting students who planned to settle elsewhere in Canada.


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Under new rules, to come into force on September 1, 2023, only graduates of subsidized or public colleges will qualify for the PGWP.

“It is important to act to preserve the integrity of our immigration programs, which must promote lasting integration into Quebec society,” Boulet said.

“These adjustments will make it possible to attract foreign students to come and study in all regions of Quebec and to prevent Quebec from being used as a bridge to settle in other provinces.”


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The decision follows a spike in the number of international students studying at unsubsidized colleges.

Between 2016 and 2018, 4,900 study permits were issued through non-subsidized colleges, compared to 11,500 between 2019 and 2021.

The shortcomings were brought to light after an investigation by the Quebec Ministry of Higher Education into certain unsubsidized private colleges.

The tightening of access was announced jointly by Boulet and federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“The change to post-graduation work permit eligibility, which Quebec has requested, will improve program integrity, further align private institutions in Quebec with those in other provinces, and protect our well-deserved reputation as a destination of choice for foreign students.”


Post Graduation Work Permit: How Long Is It Valid?

The validity of a PGWP is linked to the length of study. If a candidate studied for less than eight months, they are not eligible.

Length of Study

8 months to 2 years

2 years or more

More than one program

Duration of PGWP

Same as length of study

3 years

Cumulative total length of study is applicable

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