IRCC Sets Firm Cap: Only 292,000 Study Permits Approved for College and Undergraduate Students

IRCC Study Permits Approved: Firm Cap of 292,000 Set

In a recent revelation, Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, disclosed to the Globe and Mail that the actual number of study permits available for college and undergraduate international students this year is approximately 292,000. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) imposed an overall intake cap on study permit applications, limiting the approvals to around 360,000 for the year 2024.

The cap is aimed at curbing what the government deems as “unsustainable growth” in Canada’s international student program by reducing approved study permits by 35% over two years. The move also seeks to enhance the integrity of the system. However, it’s important to note that the immigration minister lacks statutory authority to limit the number of approved visas; rather, he can only cap the number of applications processed by IRCC.

During a recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM), Minister Miller clarified, stating, “I can only cap the applications and not the actual issuance of visas.” The cap is calculated based on assumptions of acceptance and rejection rates, with the aim of controlling the overall intake.

Moreover, Minister Miller’s instructions to set an application processing cap of 606,250 permits excluded primary and secondary school, as well as master’s and doctorate level university programs. This results in an estimated 360,000 approved study permits in 2024, assuming an average approval rate of 60%.

Contrary to the latest Globe and Mail report indicating IRCC’s goal to approve only 292,200 new college and undergraduate study permits, the implementation of the cap has been delegated to provincial governments. These provinces are responsible for issuing Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to international students eligible to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in their jurisdiction. DLIs are the only schools in Canada approved to accept international students.

PALs, required in addition to the letter of acceptance (LOA), must be written and signed by the provincial/territorial government and include the applicant’s full name, date of birth, and address. Provinces will receive allocations based on their populations, and so far, only British Columbia and Alberta have announced their systems for delivering PALs. The federal government has set a deadline of March 31st, 2024, for all provinces to create and implement their PAL delivery systems.

IRCC Study Permits Approved

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