Previously, international students had to reside in Quebec in order to be allowed to study in the province, which has the third-largest international student population in Canada after Ontario and British Columbia.
“‘[International students] also allow Quebecers to benefit from certain programs”
In recent weeks, however, colleges and universities in Quebec have expressed concerns to the government regarding funding and fears that international students might choose another destination if clarity wasn’t provided on September academic registration.
Due to the pandemic and border closures, it was also feared that certain study programs in the province would be threatened.
“The financial vitality of many cégeps is at stake,” warned Bernard Tremblay, the president of the Fédération des cégeps, which welcomed nearly 4,500 international students last year.
“‘[International students] also allow Quebecers to benefit from certain programs. Without these foreign students, there could be cohorts that disappear.”
“These students contribute to the richness and value of the university experience,” added Pierre Cossette, the rector of the University of Sherbrooke.
According to Radio-Canada, however, the Quebec government has “heard the message”.
“[The government] is currently working with institutions to determine possible funding measures,” explained MEES spokesperson, Bryan Saint-Louis.
At the end of April, Quebec extended the Quebec Acceptance Certificate, which are issued to international students in order to obtain a study permit, until the end of the year.
The CAQ and the study permit will be compulsory for these students when pursuing the study program in person in Quebec, nevertheless, pointed out the MEES spokesperson.
“Those international students who want to opt for distance learning as a first step, will, therefore, have to start their immigration procedures as soon as possible in order to be ready to come to Quebec as soon as the situation allows,” he added.
Tuition fees for international students and the cost of living in Quebec are among the lowest in North America.
Certain candidates – such as those enrolled in French language and literature or Quebec studies on full-time degree programs – are eligible for exemption from differential tuition fees that are usually required of international students in Quebec.
This measure allows students to benefit from the same tuition rates as Quebec students who pursue vocational training, technical training at the college level, or studies at university level.
Canada recently announced a significant reform to provide post-graduate work permit flexibility for international students by allowing them to study online while overseas and still be eligible to apply for the work permit after graduation.
Earlier this week, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said it would accept applications for study permits and PGWP even if some documents are missing.