Canada: Private college students will soon be ineligible for PG work permits

Unsubsidised private learning institutions have been attracting a large number of international students including India since 2018.

Canada’s Quebec has announced a new measure which makes graduates of unsubsidised private learning institutions ineligible for the country’s Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). This will come into effect on September 1, 2023.

This measure, according to Canada’s federal government, consists of making post-graduation work permits available only to graduates of a subsidised programme of study.

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“The goal is to take the corrective action needed to address gaps brought to light in an investigation by Quebec’s Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur regarding certain unsubsidised private colleges,” Canada’s federal government said in a news release.

“The Government of Quebec reached out to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to align the post‑graduation work permit eligibility rules for Quebec with those in effect in other provinces. This will ensure that Quebec is not used as a gateway for settling permanently in Canada. In the other provinces, international students who have followed an unsubsidised programme of study generally do not have access to this work permit,” it added.

Unsubsidised private learning institutions have been attracting a large number of international students including India since 2018. For the period 2016-2018, approximately 4,900 international students received a study permit for one of these institutions.

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For the period 2019–2021, the estimated number of international students who received a study permit for one of these institutions jumped to 11,500.

The measure consists of restricting access to post-graduation work permits for unsubsidised private learning institutions so that only graduates of a subsidised programme of study can access them.

According to an Economic Times report, Indians have remained the top benefactors of PR permits as well as student visas. There are over 622,000 foreign students in Canada, with Indians numbering 217,410 as of December 31, 2021.

International students who complete an eligible Canadian post-secondary programme may apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). A PGWP allows students to work for any employer of their choice in Canada. They can go on to use this professional work experience to help them with an application for Canadian permanent residence.

Commenting on the new move, Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said, “Canada recognises the tremendous social, cultural and economic benefits that international students bring to this country. Making the change that Quebec requested to post-graduation work permit eligibility will improve the integrity of the programme, 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.”

“It is important to take action to protect the integrity of our immigration programmes, which must promote sustainable integration into Quebec society. 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,” said Jean Boulet, Quebec Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity, Minister of Immigration, Francization and Integration, and Minister Responsible for the Mauricie Region.

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