Visa Crunch

Three Private Canadian Colleges In Montreal City Shuts Down Abruptly, Indian Students’ Futures At Stake

Roughly 2,000 Indian students – mostly from Punjab, Haryana, and Gujarat while some learning online and some on study visas – are left in the lurch with three private colleges in Canada’s Montreal city suddenly closing.

Canada’s CBC News reported that all three colleges have filed for creditor protection and in the court filing, the colleges blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for some of their financial crises. As per reports, other legal criteria were also not met by these colleges.

The three colleges first announced long winter vacations from November 30, 2021, to January 10, 2022. Then, just before closing, the authorities asked the students to deposit pending fees within one week. This amount of money ranged from Canadian $15,000 to $29,500, which come to between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 17.70 lakh.

While some students managed to pay the hefty fees, many could not.

The three colleges are Collège de comptabilité et de secrétariat du Québec (CCSQ), College de I’Estrie (CDE) and M College.

CCSQ has two campuses at Longueuil and Sherbrooke and offered courses in accounting, secretarial studies, medical, computing and legal studies. CDE offered six courses in business and administration and information technology. M College’ in LaSalle had four courses in business, health and technology.

Among the 2,000 affected students, 1,173 were studying in person, in the three private colleges in Montreal. As many as 637 students were pursuing studies through online classes from home in Punjab. The students are aged between 18 and 22 years. Some are also from Haryana and Gujarat and had been eagerly waiting for on-campus learning to begin.

On January 29, 2022, left with no option, students under the banner of ‘Montreal Youth-Student Organization’ (MYSO) held a rally at Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar at LaSalle in Montreal demanding justice in their case. Students have also handed a letter in this regard to the Minister of Education of Canada, the Indian Ambassador to Canada, the Montreal MP and various ministers of the opposition.

At the rally, the students demanded visa refunds for those in India, refund of fees, opportunity to complete studies for students in the three closed colleges, graduation of students with the Certificat d’Acceptation du Québec, a mandatory document for students to study and work in Quebec province, study permits and travel without any hassle to students who have obtained study visas.

The students have threatened to intensify protests if their demands were not addressed.

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Harsh V Singh

Manager - Creative Content.

An avid book reader and a traveller.

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