All you need to know about Canada’s recent regulations and policy

On January 22, 2024, the Canadian Government unveiled plans to implement an intake cap on international student permit applications for a two-year period.

According to the Canadian Government, the objective is to stabilize growth, with a particular focus on managing the influx of international students into the country.

The policy aims to limit the number of approved study permits to approximately 360,000, marking a 35% decrease from the previous year.

As an international student, here are the key factors to note;

  1. Study permit renewals will not be affected by this change.

This policy does not apply to students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees.

Current study permit holders will remain unaffected by these changes.

Effective January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) must include an attestation letter from a province or territory.

Provinces and territories are expected to establish a process for issuing attestation letters to students by March 31, 2024.

2. Post-Graduation Work Permit Program Changes

Starting September 1, 2024, international students beginning a study program under a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit upon graduation.

Graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.

3. Spousal Work Permits

In the coming weeks, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs.

Spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible for open work permits.

The announced policy changes by the Canadian Government, including the implementation of international student permit applications and adjustments to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, have several implications for international students. Here are the key implications:

4. Reduced Opportunities for New International Students

The cut on study permits for 2024, resulting in a 35% decrease in approvals compared to the previous year, implies reduced opportunities for new international students to pursue education in Canada during the specified period.

5. Attestation Letter Requirement

The requirement for an attestation letter from a province or territory for every study permit application adds an additional step in the application process. International students will need to ensure they fulfil this new documentation requirement.

6. Impact on Post-Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

Changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, especially the exclusion of international students in curriculum licensing arrangements, may limit post-graduation work opportunities for certain students.

7. Extended Work Permit Eligibility for Graduates

On a positive note, graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will now be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit, potentially providing them with an extended period to gain valuable work experience in Canada.

8. Spousal Work Permit Changes

The restriction on open work permits for spouses to only those accompanying international students in master’s and doctoral programs may impact the employment opportunities for spouses of students in other levels of study

9. No Impact on Study Permit Renewals

The policy explicitly mentions that study permit renewals will not be impacted. Current international students with valid study permits will not be affected, ensuring continuity in their education.

10. Exemptions for Specific Programs

Students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as those in elementary and secondary education, are exempt from the intake cap. This implies that certain academic programs remain unaffected, providing continued opportunities for students in these fields.

11. Provincial and Territorial Involvement

Provinces and territories are expected to play a role in the implementation of the attestation letter requirement. This involvement may lead to variations in the process across different regions, affecting international students’ experiences depending on their chosen location for study.

In summary, while the policy changes aim to manage the growth of international student numbers and align the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, they introduce both challenges and opportunities for those considering or currently pursuing education in Canada. International students should stay informed about the specific details and implications of these changes to make informed decisions about their education and future plans in the country.

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