Minister Boulet announces $80 million to promote the attraction and retention of foreign students in the regions
The Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity, Minister of Immigration, Francisation and Integration and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region, Mr. Jean Boulet, announces $80 million distributed over four years to encourage foreign students to undertake post-secondary studies in French in the regions.
Quebec wants to meet labor needs by turning to foreign students, but also to attract immigrants to the region – rather than to Montreal. To benefit from the new program, the students concerned will have to enroll in a French-speaking higher education institution.
Nearly 2,850 foreign students are taking part in Operation Main-d’oeuvre and are targeted by the measure presented by Quebec. However, to be able to benefit from it, they will have to study full-time outside the metropolitan area.
Thanks to this new measure, foreign students who meet the eligibility criteria will be exempted from paying the additional tuition fees that are usually applicable to them.
From the entry into force of the measure, scheduled for fall 2023, and until their graduation, eligible foreign students will pay the same basic tuition fees as all Quebec students, i.e. none college fees, and nearly $3,000 for a full-time undergraduate student. They will also be able, during their studies, to work up to 20 hours a week and thus meet the labor needs of employers in the regions.
This measure will not be retroactive, warned Minister Boulet, but it will apply [to students] who are already there. If, for the moment, 2,850 students are targeted, the minister predicts that there will be 1,200 more within the next three or four years.
Mr. Boulet indicated that the program must be made known before it is put in place and that the deadlines must be respected, which explains that the program in question will not start until September 2023.
This new measure will come into effect in the fall of 2023 and will allow foreign students who meet the eligibility criteria to pay tuition fees at the same rate as all Quebecers, up to their graduation.
To be eligible, students must attend a higher education institution in the region, i.e. outside the territory of the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM), and pursue a full-time program of studies in French, targeted as part of the Workforce Operation in one of the priority sectors, i.e. the information technology, engineering, health and social services, education, and early childhood education.