Forget about scholarships, Quebec offers international students a fast-track to citizenship

Quebec program has more promise, fewer drawbacks than Trillium Scholarships

Two weeks ago, in an effort to attract more international students, the Ontario government announced that they would be funding a handful of scholarships for foreign PhD students. This announcement raised some hackles.

Quebec also has a program to attract international students to the province. But they’ve gone a very different route. Instead of offering scholarships, they’re offering a fast-track to permanent residency.

Under a deal with Ottawa, immigrants who are planning to start their Canadian lives in Quebec have to apply to the provincial government and obtain a “selection certificate.”

The fast-track program essentially guarantees international students, in all levels of university and college, the certificate, provided they speak French (taking an intermediate French class at a Quebec university is sufficient) and receive approval by the federal government.

The program, which took effect over the summer, looks to have few, if any, drawbacks.

Quebec needs skilled workers and with an aging population the province, like the rest of the country, needs those who are just beginning their carriers and can step up as older people retire. Encouraging those who have trained in Canada to stay in the country also avoids problems involving the acceptance of foreign credentials. As well, immigrants who have spent some of their formative years in Canada will have a much easier time integrating into society. And, unlike the Ontario scholarships, this plan could benefit a lot of people not just a few.

The program does have one thing in common with the Ontario scholarships, it was announced overseas.