Quebec to resume processing of suspended international student CAQ applications

Alexandra Miekus, Kareem El-Assal
Published: January 13, 2021

Quebec's ministère de l'Immigration, de la Francisation et de l'Intégration (MIFI) will resume processing CAQ applications impacted by a recent suspension order.

On December 30, 2020,  MIFI issued a ministerial order suspending the processing of Quebec Acceptance Certificate (CAQ) applications for international students attending 10 specific private colleges under investigation by the Ministry of  Higher Education. Individuals who wish to study in Quebec are usually required to obtain a CAQ and study permit.

MIFI declared that it was in the public interest to suspend, until April 1, 2021, the receipt and processing of applications for temporary selection for studies submitted by international students admitted to or enrolled in one of the 10 educational institutions currently being audited by the Ministry of Higher Education.

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A number of the Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) affected by that decision, namely Canada College, CDI, and the Montréal Campus of Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, appealed the decision to the Quebec Superior Court and were able to successfully secure injunctions against the policy.

DLIs are educational institutions approved by the Quebec government to welcome international students.

The Superior Court stated in a decision rendered on January 11, 2021 "that the Ministry's mistrust of these programs is not unreasonable, but that the suspension constitutes a significant inconvenience for these students who have organized their lives in order to study in Québec this winter."

It also ordered MIFI to resume the processing of these applications and renewals.

The court decision means that thousands of students who would not have been able to obtain a study permit will now be able to undertake or continue their studies in Quebec over the coming months.

Any foreign student who wishes to study in Québec must first choose a program of study and a designated learning institution, and then obtain admission to the program of study of his or her choice. Once they receive a letter of acceptance, the student must apply for a CAQ, which is required for studies of more than six months.

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