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Measures to Enhance International Student Program Integrity



International Students, Canadian flag, nishasnet logo and  with wording "Supporting geneuine international students"
Measures to Enhance International Student Program Integrity

Aligning reforms aim to support genuine students, stabilize student numbers, and ease pressures on Canadian services.


Background:

Canada acknowledges the substantial social, cultural, and economic contributions brought about by international students. However, challenges, such as a surge in student enrollments for revenue generation and the exploitation of the International Student Program, have necessitated government intervention. The swift rise in the influx of international students to Canada has additionally strained housing, healthcare, and various services. The objective is to establish a sustainable management of international student numbers, ensuring the protection of students and deterring any actions that pose a threat to the integrity of the program i.e. to Enhance International Student Program Integrity


Key Measures Introduced:


  1. Prior Measures (Announced October 27, 2023):

    1. Enhanced verification process requiring post-secondary institutions to confirm every letter of acceptance directly with IRCC.

    2. Adoption of a recognized institution framework for higher standard services and priority processing for certain post-secondary DLIs.

    3. Ongoing assessment of Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria for alignment with labor market needs and immigration goals.

  2. Financial Requirement Adjustment (Announced December 7, 2023):

    1. Increase in the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants to ensure better financial preparedness.

    2. The threshold adjusted annually based on Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off (LICO).

    3. For 2024, a single applicant must show $20,635, 75% of LICO, in addition to tuition and travel expenses.

  3. Temporary Policies (Various Announcements):

    1. Extension of the 20-hour-per-week off-campus work limit to April 30, 2024.

    2. Continued facilitation of counting online study time toward post-graduation work permits for students starting programs before September 1, 2024.

    3. Conclusion of the temporary policy providing an additional 18-month work permit for post-graduation work permit holders, returning to the one-per-lifetime policy for international graduates.


These comprehensive measures seek to safeguard the International Student Program, providing support to genuine students while ensuring the sustainability and integrity of the program.


Government Measures (Announced January 22, 2024):

1. Intake Cap:

 - A temporary two-year cap on international student permits to stabilize growth.

 - For 2024, a 35% reduction in approved study permits, totaling approximately 360,000.

 - Individual provincial caps established, reflecting more significant decreases in provinces with unsustainable international student growth.

 - Exclusions: Study permit renewals, master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education.


2. Provincial Allocation:

 - IRCC allocates a portion of the cap to each province and territory.

 - Provinces and territories issue attestation letters for study permit applications, with a process expected by March 31, 2024.


3. Duration and Review:

 - Temporary measures in place for two years.

 - A reassessment of the number of new study permit applications for 2025 is planned at the end of this year.


4. Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Changes (Effective September 1, 2024):

 - Curriculum Licensing Arrangement Exclusion: International students in these programs lose eligibility for post-graduation work permits.

 - Master’s Graduates: Eligible for a 3-year work permit.


5. Spousal Work Permits:

 - Open work permits limited to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.


Conclusion:

These comprehensive measures aim to safeguard the International Student Program. The government remains committed to supporting genuine students while stabilizing the overall number of students and reflects the government's commitment to enhancing the International Student Program's integrity. Collaboration with provinces, territories, and education stakeholders will continue to develop a sustainable path forward.



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