International students planning to study in Quebec will now need an attestation letter along with a CAQ

Asheesh Moosapeta
Published: January 26, 2024

Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has confirmed that international students looking to study in Quebec will need an attestation letter from the province, along with a Certificat d'Acceptation du Quebec (Quebec Acceptance Certificate, CAQ) to apply for a study permit.

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What is a CAQ?

The CAQ is a mandatory immigration document for all study permit applicants looking to attend a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Quebec. It serves as an authorisation that an applicant has met Quebec’s provincial standards to be allowed to study in the province.

International students planning to study in Quebec must receive both a CAQ and an attestation letter before applying for a study permit, issued by IRCC.

What is an attestation letter?

On January 22nd, IRCC announced that it would implement a cap on how many study permit applications would be approved in 2024. IRCC will allocate the study permit cap by province and territory, weighted by their respective populations. Provinces and territories will be responsible for implementing a system to issue attestation letters to their international student hopefuls.

Though attestation letters are required for all study permit applications submitted after January 22nd, per IRCC’s announcement, provinces and territories have until March 31st, 2024, to create a system of issuing attestation letters to applicants.

These new measures have been implemented in a bid to tackle malpractice in the international student space and to stabilise the number of temporary residents who place pressure on housing, healthcare, and other services in Canada.

Studying in Quebec

Quebec boasts the third largest international student population in Canada, after Ontario and British Columbia. Montreal has the highest per capita international student population of any city in Canada). The province is also noted for a number of excellent educational institutions, including some of Canada’s top-ranked universities and colleges.

Quebec has some of Canada’s lowest cost of living expenses, a rich francophone history and culture, and lower tuition costs, as compared to other Canadian provinces.

International students studying in Quebec can take advantage of province-specific immigration programs like the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ), and the Regular Skilled Worker Program (QSWP) after obtaining the needed work experience in the province. Should these same students wish to immigrate outside of Quebec, they can take advantage of federal programs like Express Entry-managed pathways, potentially yielding more immigration options for Quebec graduates.

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