Leading Quebec politicians and businesspeople have announced a major initiative, I Choose Montreal, to retain international graduates in the Greater Montreal area. The program is aimed at individuals studying in Montreal.
The Quebec government has committed to invest $1.6 million in the project, which will be run by Montreal International, an organization that researches and promotes economic growth in the city. The Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité, et de l’inclusion (Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusion, or MIDI) will also be closely involved. While exact details have not yet been released, it is expected that programming will be directed at students in Montreal. Proposed events include information sessions with MIDI, student employment fairs, outreach, and information tools and resources.
Government voices support for international students in Montreal
Potential international students who are considering studying in Montreal may be encouraged by the fact that key stakeholders in the city’s economy are dedicated to improving employment opportunities for graduates.
Speaking at the announcement event, 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.”
“Québec is determined to step up its efforts to get as many young international students as possible to stay in Québec.”
Her words closely echo those of Canadian Minister of Immigration John McCallum, who has said in the past that international students “are among the most fertile source of new immigrants for Canada. By definition, they are educated. They speak English or French. They know something about the country, so they should be first on our list of people who we court to come to Canada.”
Under Weil’s direction, MIDI has already taken steps to encourage international graduates to settle in Quebec after they finish their studies. The MIDI’s website now has a specific section targeted towards international graduates who wish to immigrate to Quebec. In addition, Weil announced that Francisation en ligne and Service d’intégration en ligne — two online resources that assist individuals with French language learning and integration — will be available to students and other temporary residents. The online resources were previously only available to select applicants.
Industries Want Graduates
Montréal International recently partnered with the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal to conduct a study on the impact and contribution of international students on the Greater Montreal economy. The report highlighted the employment opportunities in the Greater Montreal area for university graduates, which grew 39 percent between 2000 and 2015.
15 percent of Montreal’s 155,000 students are international students. It is widely recognized that these international students contribute significantly to the city’s economy and prosperity — 12 percent of the city’s GDP is generated by university graduates.
Despite these statistics, and despite the abundance of post-secondary institutions in the area, Greater Montreal lags behind other Canadian cities for the percentage of university graduates among the population. The I Choose Montreal initiative aims to help the city achieve the goal of increasing the amount of university graduates between the ages of 25 and 34 by five percent over the next five years.
A Pathway to Permanent Residence
International students who graduate from an eligible program at a recognized post-secondary institution in Quebec may apply to the province for a Certificat de séléction du Québec — Quebec Selection Certificate, or CSQ — and, after receiving a CSQ, they may apply to the federal government for Permanent Resident status. For international graduates, there are two main routes towards obtaining a CSQ:
- The Programme d’expérience québécoise (Quebec Experience Program, or PEQ) offers faster processing times for candidates who meet the selection criteria. Fewer documents are required, and if the application is complete and eligible, a CSQ is usually issued within 20 days. There are two streams under this program:
- Travailleur qualifié (Skilled Worker): workers who meet the criteria may apply under this stream. Criteria include at least 12 months of skilled work experience in Quebec in the last two years, and an advanced intermediate level of oral French.
- Diplomé du Québec (Quebec Graduate): students and graduates who meet the criteria may apply up to six months before they graduate, or up to 36 months after they graduate. Criteria include an eligible diploma from a program of at least one year (1,800 hours) at a Quebec post-secondary institution, and an advanced intermediate level of oral French.
- The Quebec Skilled Worker program (Travailleurs qualifiés du Québec, or QSWP) is a popular option for international students who may be unable to meet the language requirement of the PEQ. Candidates are assessed on the basis of points awarded for civil status information, education and work history, language ability, and other factors. Eligible candidates may submit an application at any time through the online intake management system Mon Projet Québec. Certain students may be eligible to submit an application before they have graduated.
Montreal: a world-class study destination
Montreal consistently ranks among the top ten student cities worldwide, and top in North America. With eleven universities in the Greater Montreal Area, Quebec’s biggest city has a significant student population. To learn more about studying in Quebec, click here.
McGill University, Concordia, Université de Montréal, and UQAM are internationally-recognized for their excellence. Yet these four universities, which are perhaps the most well-known of Montreal’s post-secondary institutions, are far from the only options available: check out École Polytechnique, École de technologie supérieure (ETS), École des hautes études commerciales de Montréal (HEC Montréal), École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP), Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval, and distance-learning university TÉLUQ.
Unique Study Programs
Several of Montreal’s top post-secondary institutions have developed ground-breaking study programs to respond to current and future industry needs in the city.
- Diploma in Aviation Management — McGill University developed this program in conjunction with the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization. Under the School of Continuing Studies, this intensive graduate diploma prepares students for careers in management for airlines, airports, private companies, regulatory bodies, government agencies, and more.
- Masters in Aerospace Engineering — McGill University, Concordia University, École Polytechnique, École de technologie supérieure (ETS), Université de Sherbrooke and Université Laval all offer Masters in Aerospace Engineering, developed in consultation with 13 aerospace companies in the Greater Montreal area.
- Certificate in Cyberfraud, Investigation and Network Security – École Polytechnique has collaborated with Desjardins, Deloitte, and Morgan Stanley to develop this graduate certificate which focuses on cybersecurity, fraud detection and prevention, and information security.
- Improving the Performance of Health Care and Social Services System Processes – This short graduate program at HEC Montréal, developed in collaboration with the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (Ministry of Health and Social Services) and Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal (Montreal Health and Social Services Agency) is aimed at professionals in the healthcare industry who want to develop their skills and respond to changing environments.
Several of Montreal’s universities are working with industry partners on innovative research and development projects. These projects involve students as well as professors, and offer an exciting opportunity to learn practical skills and gain work experience.
- The AÉROÉTS group is comprised of more than 70 aerospace companies, who have collaborated with McGill University and ETS on more than 90 research projects.
- Researchers at UQAM are working with Bombardier to develop a system of public bike transportation, with a goal of integrating bikes with public transportation to encourage car-free travel.
- McGill, ETS, and Concordia University collaborate with government and private partners to develop downtown Montreal’s Quartier d’innovation (Innovation District) into a centre of training, research, and industrial, social and cultural, and urban development.
- Concordia’s Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) centre brings together students and industry professionals in design and engineering. Participants experiment with and develop the next generation of gaming, digital culture, and interactive technologies.
Vibrant Culture and Student Life
Montreal’s nightlife has certainly contributed to its high ranking as a student city. However, there’s plenty to do during the day as well. With museums, cultural centres, cinemas, student clubs, sports teams, river walks, and even a mountain in the middle of the city, it is no wonder that Montreal is often described as a playground.