The Quebec government has announced it will invest $1.6 million in a program to encourage international students in Montreal to remain in the province after graduation. 'I Choose Montreal' will be run by economic development organization Montréal International, and will be directed towards university, college, and vocational students in the Greater Montreal area. The initiative was developed in consultation with the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité, et de l’Inclusion (the Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion, or MIDI).
According to a press release from Montréal International, the program will combine activities such as workshops with the MIDI, activities for students, job fairs, and outreach. It is hoped that the project will provide a blueprint for other organizations across Quebec to implement similar initiatives to retain international students after graduation.
In collaboration with this initiative, the MIDI has opened two online resources to international students in Quebec — Francisation en ligne and Service d’intégration en ligne — in order to assist individuals with French language learning and integration. There is also a recently-launched information website targeted at international students and temporary residents who wish to make Quebec their long-term home.
Speaking at the announcement of the new project, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration, Kathleen Weil, said, “The new initiative shows that the Government of Québec is determined to step up its efforts to get as many young international students as possible to stay in Québec, particularly in Greater Montréal. They have a Québec degree, speak French, and are already familiar with our society and culture. They are the best we can get and we want them to stay and help our economy grow.”
Weil was supported by Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre. “Encouraging international students to settle here is a strategic move that will benefit our society in many ways by raising Québec’s international profile and strengthening our position in global research networks. The initiative is consistent with Québec’s future international policy,” she said.
A pathway to permanent residence
International graduates from Quebec institutions may apply for a Quebec Selection Certificate (Certificat de séléction du Québec, or CSQ), with which they may then apply to the federal government for permanent residence status. The province offers a fast-track Quebec Experience Class (Programme d’expérience québécoise, or PEQ) aimed at individuals with work experience in Quebec, or a diploma from a Quebec post-secondary institution. Through this program, eligible graduates may obtain a CSQ in approximately 20 days.