The IRCC provided further details regarding the reforms to the International Student Program.

Understanding IRCC Student Program Reforms: A Comprehensive Guide

The IRCC provided further details regarding the reforms to the International Student Program.

The January 22nd international student intake cap announcement caused confusion and concern initially. However, regulating growth can benefit students long-term by improving quality, affordability, and support services. Though the transition brings challenges, sustainable development led to these policies – not discrimination.

On February 5, 2024, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provided further details on the recent announcement of reforms to the International Student Program; Canada aims to address the unsustainable growth in recent years while ensuring a positive experience for international students.

The announcement of a cap on the number of new applications for international study permits, along with other modifications, are being clarified with further information.

1. Study Permit Cap for 2024:

The distribution of Canada’s new study permit approval cap (360,000) among its provinces will be based on population weights.

In 2024, IRCC will review up to 606,250 applications for study permits. This cap is different from the one that was declared on January 22nd; that cap, which is 360,000 study permit applications, only applies to study permit approvals.

This means that, regardless of the outcome of each application, the IRCC Student Program Reforms will only be able to handle these 606, 250 requests for study permits during the course of the following 11 months.

Furthermore, the minister may raise the latter figure to meet the IRCC’s goal of 360,000 accepted study visa applications within the processing cap of 606,250 applicants.

2. Provincial attestation letter

The majority of new international post-secondary students attending colleges or universities must submit their study permit application with a provincial attestation letter (PAL) from a province or territory as of 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024.

Provincial or territorial PAL issuance procedures have not yet been established. By March 31, 2024, provinces and territories are expected to have a plan in place for issuing Provincial Allowance Letters.

Exemption: The following situations exempt you from the PAL requirement for new study permit applications:

• to pursue education in a kindergarten, elementary school, or high school (up to grade 12).

• to enrol in graduate or master’s degree programs, or

• foreign visitors or exchange students; individuals with work permits and study permits in Canada (including those who are requesting for an extension of their permits)

•       Families residing in Canada who have a work permit or study visa holders; students whose applications we received before to January 22, 2024

3.   Post-graduation work permit (PGWP) update for graduates of master’s degree programs

A longer three-year post-graduation work permit will be available to anyone who finish a master’s program in less than two years and fulfill all other PGWP qualifying requirements as of February 15, 2024.

Up to a maximum of three years, the duration of PGWPs for programs other than master’s degrees will match the duration of the study program.

Which individuals are eligible for extended post-graduation work permit? 

Candidates for a three-year PGWP include graduates of master’s degree programs that last less than two years, as well as graduates of at least two-year programs in PGWP-qualified, accredited educational institutions.

Moreover, foreign students who enroll in a program as part of a curriculum licensing agreement will no longer be qualified for a postgraduate work permit following completion as of September 1, 2024.

4. Spousal Open Work Permit Eligibility Change

Only spouses and common law partners of international students earning master’s and doctoral degrees will be eligible for open work permits in the upcoming weeks.

The eligibility of spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs will expire.

5.PGWP eligibility for public-private partnership college programs

The eligibility criteria for PGWP are being revised. Starting September 1, 2024, students enrolled in curriculum licensing arrangement programs will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. Graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit, irrespective of their program’s length.

PGWP will no longer be accessible to models of public-private institutions or curriculum licensing agreements as of September 1, 2024.

What are public private institution models?

They are also known as Public-Private Partnerships or PPPs. This is where a public college, partners with a private college so the private college can use the public college’s curriculum under a curriculum license arrangement.

An example of a PPP in Ontario is St. Lawrence College which is a public college, and it partners with a private college called Alpha College of Business and Technology. Another example is Lambton College, and its partnership with Queen’s college a private institution in Mississauga a convenient location. Currently these two colleges, and many other private colleges are eligible for a PGWP. But from Sep 1st, graduates of such PPPPs won’t be eligible to apply for a PGWP.

After completing a public-private partnership college program, who is eligible for a PGWP?

If they still fulfill further program eligibility requirements, enrolled international students will continue to be eligible for a PGWP.

After completing a college, program in which public-private partnerships are involved, who is ineligible for a PGWP?

New enrollees in this kind of program will not be qualified for a work permit after completion.

Examples: List of Public-Private Partner DLIs in Ontario. Public CollegePrivate College (Curriculum Licensee)Locations
Algonquin CollegeCDI College Business, Technology and HealthcareMississauga, Brampton, Scarborough, North York
Cambrian College of Applied Arts and TechnologyHanson College of Business, Health and TechnologyToronto, Brampton
Canadore CollegeStanford International College of Business and TechnologyToronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Scarborough
Fanshawe CollegeILAC International CollegeToronto
Fleming CollegeTrebas Institute Ontario Inc.Toronto
Georgian CollegeILAC International CollegeToronto
Lambton CollegeQueen’s College of Business, Technology and Public SafetyMississauga
Lambton CollegeCestar College of Business, Health and TechnologyToronto
Loyalist CollegeToronto Business CollegeToronto
Mohawk College of Applied Arts and TechnologytriOS College Business Technology Healthcare IncMississauga
Niagara College CanadaToronto School of ManagementToronto
Northern CollegePures College of TechnologyScarborough
Sault College of Applied Arts and TechnologyTrios CollegeToronto, Brampton
Sheridan CollegeCanadian College of Technology and TradesFort Erie
St. Clair CollegeAce Acumen AcademyToronto, Mississauga, Brampton
St. Lawrence CollegeAlpha College of Business and TechnologyToronto

The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada IRCC Student Program Reforms recently unveiled crucial reforms aimed at enhancing the International Student Program. These reforms signify a pivotal step towards fostering a more inclusive and efficient system for international students aspiring to study in Canada.

One of the key aspects of the IRCC Student Program Reforms is the simplification of visa processes. Under the new regulations, international students will experience a streamlined application process, reducing bureaucratic hurdles and ensuring a smoother transition into Canadian academic institutions. This simplification aligns with the IRCC Student Program Reforms commitment to promoting Canada as a welcoming destination for global talent.

Furthermore, the reforms prioritize the enhancement of post-graduation opportunities for international students. Through expanded work permit options, graduates can now explore diverse employment avenues in Canada, contributing to the country’s economy and enriching its cultural fabric. The IRCC Student Program Reforms underscore Canada’s recognition of the valuable contributions made by international students beyond the classroom.

Additionally, the reforms emphasize the importance of compliance and accountability. By implementing robust monitoring mechanisms, the IRCC Student Program Reforms aims to uphold the integrity of the student visa system and safeguard the rights of both students and institutions. These measures ensure that the benefits of the reforms are realized while mitigating potential risks associated with fraudulent activities.

Moreover, the IRCC Student Program Reforms prioritize accessibility and support for students with disabilities. Enhanced provisions for accommodation and assistance underscore Canada’s commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment where every student can thrive. By addressing barriers to education, these reforms uphold the principles of diversity and equality.

In summary, the IRCC Student Program Reforms represent a significant milestone in Canada’s approach to international education. By simplifying visa processes, expanding post-graduation opportunities, enhancing compliance measures, and promoting inclusivity, these reforms underscore Canada’s commitment to excellence and diversity in higher education. International students aspiring to study in Canada can now embark on their academic journey with greater confidence, knowing that they are welcomed and supported every step of the way.

In conclusion, the IRCC Student Program Reforms herald a new era of opportunity and inclusivity for international students seeking to pursue their academic goals in Canada. These reforms not only streamline administrative processes but also prioritize the well-being and success of students from around the world. As Canada continues to position itself as a global leader in education, the IRCC Student Program Reforms remains dedicated to nurturing a vibrant and diverse community of learners, researchers, and innovators

IRCC Student Program Reforms

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