As a new batch of international students prepare to make the move to Canada for the Fall semester, others are considering their options for 2016. When it comes to studying in Canada and thinking about settling permanently, preparation is key.
With quality and more affordable tuition, safe cities, employment options (both during and after the study period), and as a pathway to Canadian permanent residence, the decision to study in Canada can be one of the most important, and best, decisions made by young people from around the world.
Many individuals, however, are seeing their future academic and professional career prospects not just in Canada, but specifically in the province of Quebec. Quebec welcomes approximately 45,000 immigrants each year, a figure that is progressively rising. Why is this?
Quebec: An exciting place to live, study and work
Quebec is a culturally, linguistically, and historically unique province of Canada, with a majority French-speaking population. Contrary to popular belief, however, not all colleges and universities in Quebec require French. Indeed, some of the most renowned institutions are predominantly English in character.
The province offers study options in a dynamic and lively atmosphere. McGill University, Laval, Bishops, L’Université de Montreal, and Concordia, as well as many other universities and modern polytechnic colleges, are located here. The city of Montreal, Quebec’s metropolis, is home to four sizable universities, giving it the highest percentage of university students in its population of any major North American city, except Boston.
Quebec is also home to one of the most affordable education systems in North America. The average yearly tuition paid by Quebec students is the lowest in Canada, and the province offers a number of generous student aid programs. For students looking for English, French, or bilingual education, the system of schools in Quebec include a network of institutions that offer world-class education in both of Canada’s official languages.
Individuals thinking about coming to study in Quebec should know that the province’s education and immigration opportunities are slightly different to the rest of Canada. Choosing the right combination of education and settlement options, therefore, can save time, money and stress.
After graduation: A post-graduation work permit
A typical path from student to permanent resident status in Canada is through taking advantage of something Canada offers that is not available, or more difficult to obtain, in other countries — a post-graduate work permit.
This work permit may be issued on completion of the study program for the duration that the program, up to a maximum of three years. Thus, a graduate who completed a four-year study program could be eligible for a three-year post-graduate work permit, while a graduate who completed a study program twelve months in duration could be eligible for a twelve-month post-graduate work permit.
Students must be at least 18 and in possession of a valid study permit when applying. Click here to learn more about the post-graduation work permit and eligibility requirements.
Permanent Immigration to Canada
Transitioning from temporary to permanent status in Quebec is a two-step process. First, when successful applicants are chosen by the province they receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (commonly called a CSQ). Once in possession of a CSQ, applicants then submit an application for Canadian permanent residence to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and undergo health and criminal background checks.
Immigration options for current and future students in Quebec can look toward the Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) and Quebec Experience Class (commonly known as the PEQ, or Programme de l’expérience québécoise).
Quebec Skilled Worker Program (QSWP)
If a student is finishing his or her studies in Quebec and holds a valid CAQ (Quebec Acceptance Certificate) and study permit, he or she may be eligible to apply to the QSWP. Candidates who have studied in Quebec must have completed at least one half of an eligible study program and be ready to enter the workforce. The QSWP uses a points-based system to assess applications of individuals who wish to settle in the province.
Quebec Experience Class (PEQ)
A more student-oriented pathway to Canadian permanent residence is the PEQ. This program operates a stream dedicated to providing international students in Quebec with the opportunity to build their lives and careers in Quebec.
Students with the right combination of education and language skills can apply for the PEQ. To be considered eligible, students must have:
- An Eligible Diploma or Degree
The following qualify under the PEQ rules:
- Bachelor’s Degree (university undergraduate);
- Master’s Degree (and MBAs);
- Doctorate Degree;
- DEC – Diploma of College Studies, technical training, (Diplôme D’études Collégiales Techniques);
- DEP – Diploma Of Vocational Studies, lasting 1,800 hours of study (Diplôme D’études Professionnelles); and
- A DEP – Diploma Of Vocational Studies, followed by an ASP (Attestation Of Vocational Specialization; Attestation De Specialisation Professionnelle) comprising a minimum of 1,800 hours of training and leading to a particular trade.
- Graduated or are Graduating from a Recognized School
Students must have received their diploma from a school recognized by regulated by the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS), Quebec’s Ministry of Education.
- Proven advanced intermediate or better French language proficiency.
- Completed an Application within a Specific Time Frame
Students must have completed an eligible program within the last 36 months or plan to complete a program within the next six months.
“Newcomers come to Quebec each year from over 100 countries, helping to contribute to the multicultural character of the province and driving the Quebec economy. This includes a good number of students,” says Attorney David Cohen.
“With the province’s economy growing and the birth rate declining, immigration to Quebec can be expected to grow in the future. An important step to making this transition is being prepared and knowing the full range of options available. Having studied in Quebec myself, I can vouch for the quality of education on offer and employment prospects after graduation.”
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