The provincial government of Canada announces a major policy change that may allow international students to meet their program-criteria if they begin their study abroad.
According to the Quebec’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEES), international students who are forced to stay in their country of origin due to travel restrictions related to the coronavirus will be allowed to start their studies online in the province this fall, reports Radio-Canada.
This announcement is great news for the approximately 60,000 international students who come to Quebec each year and who, until now, did not know if they could meet the conditions required to register in the fall of 2020 or the winter 2021.
According to the previous criteria, international students had to reside in Quebec to be allowed to study in the province. Colleges and universities in the province also receive funding from the provincial government only if this condition is met. However, due to the measures put in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the borders are still closed, the arrival of these students in the coming months is uncertain.
Consequently, higher education institutions in Quebec did not know whether they would receive government funding to cover their operating costs, continue to offer all their programs, or process the enrollment of foreign students.
Québec’s decision to relax the rules follows a public outcry from the students concerned who are determined to study in Canada as well as at universities and colleges in the province. Many feared that international students would choose other countries as study destinations and that regulatory changes would not occur in time for registration in September.
“Students make their decisions in May or early June. If they [cannot come] to Quebec, they will go elsewhere in the world” Pierre Cossette, president of the Bureau de cooperation interuniversitaire (BCI), told Radio-Canada a few weeks ago.
The governments of Quebec and Canada have shown their willingness to temporarily lift some of the most restrictive policies that could have disqualified many previously eligible students who wanted to study in Canada.
Two weeks ago, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced a major reform of the post-graduate work permit (PGWP). International students will now be able to complete 50 percent of their programs abroad and continue to obtain the PGWP to work in Canada after completing their studies. Normally, online courses are not taken into account in the study requirement for a PGWP application.
Around the same time, the Quebec immigration ministry announced that it would extend the validity of the Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ), which was about to expire. Quebec students can now apply to the federal government for an extension of their study permit without having to submit a new CAQ, which will allow them to maintain their temporary resident status and complete their study programs.
The federal and provincial governments have a vested interest in supporting international students because they make an important contribution to the Canadian economy.
The Canadian government estimates that international students contribute approximately $ 22 billion to Canada’s GDP each year. In Quebec, where the population of international students is the third-largest in Canada, their contribution is estimated at $ 3 billion in addition to supporting 25,000 jobs annually.
Reference is taken from CIC News
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