Labor Shortage | Quebec reduces tuition fees for foreign students in the regions

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(Quebec) The glaring labor needs in all regions are prompting Quebec to turn more to foreign students in order to fill the thousands of vacant positions.

Posted at 11:43 a.m.
Updated at 1:22 p.m.

Jocelyne Richer
The Canadian Press

To attract a greater number of foreign students, the Legault government will target the wallet. He will offer them next year to come and settle in Quebec at a much lower cost, by cutting the high tuition fees they must currently pay.

But to take advantage of the program, they will have to meet two essential conditions: forget the CEGEPs and universities of Montreal, French and English, by enrolling in a French-speaking higher education institution located in the regions, while choosing a program that is part of the sectors of activity where the labor shortage is the greatest.

Quebec wants to kill two birds with one stone: meet labor needs in the regions and attract immigrants from Montreal.

The government thus hopes to attract 1,200 foreign students to CEGEPs and universities located in the regions within four years. Currently, three-quarters of foreigners who come to study in Quebec settle in Montreal.

The reasoning is as follows: a foreigner who studies for a few years in Rimouski, Saguenay or Sherbrooke runs the risk of settling there permanently.

“You discover a community. You make yourself a boyfriend, you make yourself a blonde, ”illustrated the Minister of Labor and Immigration, Jean Boulet, Thursday, while announcing the program, at a press conference in Rimouski.

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Quebec, where there are some 90,000 students of foreign origin, issued 62,000 study permits last year.

The program will be available from September 2023 and will not be retroactive. For Quebec, the bill is estimated at 80 million spread over four years.

From $24,000 to $3,000

For example, currently, the average annual cost for a foreigner interested in studying in Quebec is close to $17,000 at the college level and some $24,000 at the undergraduate level.

As soon as the program comes into effect, scheduled for fall 2023, and until they graduate, eligible foreign students will pay the same basic tuition fees annually as Quebecers, i.e. no college fees, and approximately $3,000 at University.

The French, Belgians and Canadians from other provinces already enjoy a special status, having to pay annual tuition fees of $8,186 at the undergraduate level, and $2,623 at the second cycle. If they agree to go to the regions and go to the targeted sectors, the program will apply to them as well.

The priority study sectors will be information technologies, engineering, health and social services, as well as the field of education, including the training of early childhood educators.

The program announced Thursday will be “a winner in terms of promoting the learning of French and, consequently, ensuring a lasting integration into the values ​​of our society”, commented Minister Boulet, who promises future foreign students “personalized support” to facilitate their regional integration, in terms of finding accommodation, for example.

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