TORONTO: The Canadian province of Quebec, along with the national government, is closing a pathway to permanent residency that was used by some private colleges to attract large numbers of international students, the majority of whom were from India.
The announcement of the measure aimed at “tightening access to post-graduation work permits for certain graduates of non-subsidized private educational establishments”, was made Tuesday jointly by the Quebec Minister of Immigration Jean Boulet and the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser in Quebec.
“This measure consists of giving access to the post-graduation work permit only to people who have graduated from a subsidized study program,” the statement said. It will come into force on September 1, 2023. Colleges and universities subsidized by the provincial government and therefore supervised by it will not be affected.
In the statement, Fraser was quoted as saying the change will “enhance the integrity of the program” and “protect” Canada’s “well-deserved reputation as a destination of choice” for “international students.”
This closes the way for international students to obtain work permits after completing their courses, a necessity to qualify for permanent residency. This has proven to be a carrot for many Indian students, especially from Punjab, in recent years.
Between 2016 and 2018, the number of foreign students who obtained study permits from these educational institutions was estimated at 4,900, according to the statement. This jumped to 11,500 for the 2019-21 period.
Indian students were vulnerable to such a lure. Earlier this year, nearly a thousand were abandoned when three of these establishments, College M in Montreal, College CED in Sherbrooke and College CCSQ in Longueil, closed their doors.
The total annual fees charged by some of these dubious institutions could vary between 15,000 and 25,000 Canadian dollars (approximately ₹9,000,000 ₹15 million).
In a notice issued in February, the High Commission of India in Ottawa warned: “Indian students considering higher education in Canada are again advised to thoroughly check the credentials and reputation of the establishment to which they wish to be admitted before making payment to those establishments. . Please request a certificate of recognition by the Canadian/provincial government from the institutions and verify that the selected institution is included in the list of designated learning institutions published on the Government of Canada website.