Québec unsubsidized private colleges are living “their last breath”

In a statement sent to Radio Canada, College Canada director and founder Cyrus Shani does not hide his despair following the joint announcement by the Legault and Trudeau governments.

From September 1, 2023, international students graduating from an unsubsidized private college will no longer have access to the post-graduate work permit. The latter allows you to live and work in Canada for several years and is a gateway to permanent immigration.

This measure has been taken to protect: integrity education and immigration systems,” said Quebec’s immigration minister, Jean Boulet. Several reports had revealed issues related to the quality of education and the recruitment of thousands of students, mostly from India.

After a government investigation, Quebec, which had a dozen branches in its sights, launched an action plan in the spring of 2021 to clean up this network.

Before Secretary of State Jean Boulet (right) made the decision to restrict immigration access to certain foreign students, Higher Education Secretary Danielle McCann had launched an action plan last year to fill “holes” in the network of unsubsidized private colleges. .

Photo: The Canadian Press / Jacques Boissinot

Thousands of Indian students recruited

From now on, international students are no longer interested in coming to Quebecsays Cyrus Shani, the boss of College Canada.

The new law will reduce the number of international students to zero. private colleges [vivent] their last breath.

A quote from Cyrus Shani, Director of College Canada

The latter is one of the largest non-subsidized private institutions in Quebec. Thousands of Indian students have attended College Canada and several other colleges in recent years.

Their numbers have exploded in Quebec in a short time as well. For the year 2020-2021, the vast majority of the foreign students in the college network came from India. More than 12,000 Indians were enrolled in an institution in Quebec, compared to about 3,000 French and 700 Chinese, according to data from the Ministry of Higher Education.

As evidenced by a report byResearch (New window), many establishments and recruitment agencies have used the argument of immigration and this post-graduation work permit to attract students. Quebec has so far been the only province to grant access to this document after a short professional training course costing nearly $25,000.

Forty colleges affected

The number of unsubsidized private colleges in Quebec has nearly doubled in just a few years. In 2015 there were 28, in 2020 49.

According to the Ministry of Higher Education, the tightening of immigration rules announced by Quebec and Ottawa will specifically target 38 institutions currently hosting foreign students.

Poster of Matrix College in Montreal.

Matrix College, a member of the Hermès group, welcomed its first students in the fall of 2017. It is one of these new branches that have recently opened in the Montreal area.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

A disaster and a lack of transparency

In the long term, Ginette Gervais, president of the network of Hermès colleges, emphasizes, it’s a disaster

Also president of the Association of Non-Governmental Private Colleges (ACPNS), she regrets in a press release the absence of consultation and from prior notice

This move is a step backwards in what should be a concerted effort to train and retain the highly skilled workforce that Quebec and Canada so desperately need.

A quote from Ginette Gervais, President of the ACPNS

The investigation carried out by the Ministry should have made it possible to accurately identify these colleges and address the problems directly to them. […]† Instead, the government has pursued a unilateral policy based on the findings of a report that no one has been able to read.says Ginette Gervais.

This lack of transparency and inconsistencies between the provincial and federal governments over the details of the new policy has left thousands of international students in Quebec confused and clueless about their future in the province.she believes.

We have done nothing wrong and we have been punishedregrets Michael McAllister, the principal of Herzing College, an institution founded in 1968.

Since the start of this controversy, he swears that he has already changed his approach, to focus on the French-speaking market.

We’ve really changed our strategy to attract French-speaking studentshe argues, and also criticizes the lack of dialogue on the part of the Quebec government. No one tried to talk to us to find a solution.

A man sitting behind his desk

Michael McAllister is the principal of Herzing College.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Dave St-Amant

A decision random

In the eyes of immigration attorney Ho Sung Kim, Quebec and Ottawa could have shown nuance. I get the point, but it’s poorly done. We cannot punish those who follow the rules. There will be collateral damage. Instead, the education field should be regulatedhe believes.

Are we saying that all colleges in Quebec are of poor quality? That is what we do. On the contrary, the licensing rules for these schools need to be tightened.

A quote from Ho Sung Kim, Immigration Attorney

Involved in a legal process with Rising Phoenix International, a recruitment agency whose leaders are facing criminal charges, the Higher Institute of Informatics (ISI) for its part denounces a decision arbitrary and unjustified

A private, unsubsidized university does not cost the government or taxpayers a cent, unlike public institutions, which receive grants for infrastructure in addition to students.

A quote from Benoit Larose, Vice President of ISIA

If the Quebec government wants to correct the proportion of French-speaking international students hosted by Quebec, it has been misledhe continues.

Non-subsidized private schools ask for nothing better than to welcome more French speakers. Rather than help us achieve this goal, Secretary Boulet decided to withdraw a benefit obtained from Quebec to attract international students.

With the collaboration of Benjamin Shingler

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