Private Quebec college graduates no longer eligible for PGWP starting September 2023

Study at private Quebec colleges will no longer be eligible toward a PGWP application, a move the government says is to protect the integrity of the international student

Graduates of unsubsidized private learning institutions in Quebec will no longer be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) starting September 1, 2023.

The measure is intended to protect the integrity of the international student program in Quebec, according to the federal government. In recent years, investigations by journalists and the Quebec’s Ministry of Higher Education, found certain private institutions were engaging in unscrupulous recruitment practices.

In other provinces, international students who have enrolled in a private program of study generally do not have access to the PGWP, an open work permit that can allow international student graduates the right to work in Canada for up to three years. Once the measure goes into effect, Quebec private institutions will align with the rest of the country.

Graduates of a subsidized program of study in Quebec will still be eligible for the PGWP.

“Canada recognizes the tremendous social, cultural and economic benefits that international students bring to this country,” Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said in a media release. “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.”

Unsubsidized private learning institutions have been attracting large numbers of international students since 2018. About 4,900 international students received study permits for one of these institutions between 2016-2018. Then between 2019 and 2021, the approximate number of international students who received a study permit for one of these institutions jumped to 11,500.

About the PGWP

The PGWP is an open work permit that allows international student graduates the opportunity to work for any employer in Canada. It can be used as a gateway to permanent residence. Studies have shown that immigrants who have Canadian experience before immigrating to Canada tend to fare better in the labour market than those who immigrate to Canada directly from their country of origin.

In order to be eligible for the PGWP, international student graduates need to have studied full-time for at least eight months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). The study program must have lead to a degree, diploma or certificate.

During the pandemic, when students were forced to work from home, Canada introduced measures to allow international students to be eligible with online study. International students can count online study completed between March 2020 to August 31, 2022 toward their PGWP eligibility.

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