In a significant move aimed at stabilizing growth and ensuring the integrity of the education system, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a series of changes to the Canadian study permit system. These changes are expected to impact international students planning to study in Canada from 2024 onwards.
Temporary cap on study permits in 2024, with 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023.
Caps are being introduced for each province and territory, weighted by population.
Every study permit application submitted to IRCC will now require an attestation letter from a province or territory.
Starting September 2024, international students starting a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for the PGWP.
Open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.
The New Caps on Study Permits
To manage the rapid growth of the international student population, the IRCC will implement a temporary cap on the number of study permits issued. For 2024, the cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, marking a decrease of 35% from 2023.
Provincial Caps and Attestation Letters
The IRCC is also introducing caps for each province and territory, weighted by population. This measure aims to address the unsustainable growth of the international student population in certain provinces. From March 31, 2024, every study permit application will require an attestation letter from a province or territory, ensuring that students receive the necessary support to succeed.
Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permits
Starting in September 2024, international students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing agreement will no longer be eligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). However, graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit, providing them with an extended opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience.
Changes to Open Work Permits for Spouses of International Students
Under the new rules, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students who are enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs. This means that if an international student is pursuing other levels of study, such as undergraduate or college programs, their spouse will no longer be eligible for a spousal open work permit.
The Role of Designated Learning Institutions
Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) play a crucial role in the international student permit system. DLIs are the only post-secondary institutions in Canada that are allowed to admit international students. There are over 1,000 DLIs in Canada, with 529 of them in Ontario. The IRCC is working closely with DLIs to ensure they provide the necessary support to international students.
Doubling the Proof of Funds Requirements for Students
In December, IRCC made changes to the international student program, including doubling the cost-of-living requirement for international students from $10,000 to $20,635. This change aims to help international students better prepare for the actual cost of living in Canada, ensuring they have sufficient funds to support themselves during their studies.
The IRCC is expected to implement a Trusted Framework Agreement with DLIs in time for the 2024 academic season. This agreement will expedite the processing of study permits for eligible DLIs, reducing the waiting time for international students. This is a significant step towards making the application process more efficient and user-friendly.
The Impact on Housing and Other Services
The surge in international students has put pressure on housing, healthcare, and other services. By implementing these changes, the IRCC aims to alleviate some of this pressure, particularly in areas with a high concentration of international students. This is expected to improve the quality of life for both international students and residents.
The Transition to Permanent Residency
The changes to the PGWP eligibility criteria are expected to have a significant impact on the transition to permanent residency for international students. According to the latest data from November 2023 provided by IRCC, 62,410 international student graduates successfully obtained permanent residency in Canada. This marked a notable rise of 9,670 individuals compared to the 52,740 international graduates who transitioned to permanent residency in 2022. The new changes aim to further streamline this process, making it easier for international students to become permanent residents.
The changes to Canada’s international student permit system represent a significant shift in policy. While they may present challenges in the short term, they also pave the way for a more sustainable and equitable education system. As always, prospective international students must stay informed and plan accordingly to navigate these changes successfully.
Remember, we at ELAAR are here to help you navigate these changes. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We’re in this together, and we’re committed to helping you achieve your dreams of studying in Canada. Please get in touch with us for our professional immigration services.
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