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International Student Program: Canada tightens rules to welcome genuine applicants

Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for international students is growing. In 2012, Canada welcomed a record number of over 100,000 international students – 60 per cent higher compared to 2004. 

This marked the first time in Canadian history that over 100,000 international students have been welcomed in a given year.

New rules that aim to strengthen Canada’s status as a study destination of choice for prospective international students will take effect on June 1, 2014.

The new regulations will improve services to genuine students, while protecting Canada’s international reputation for high-quality education and reducing the potential for fraud and misuse of the program.

Key changes include:
• Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.
• Applicants must enroll in and continue to pursue studies in Canada. Failure to do so could lead to removal from Canada.
• Applicants may apply for a study permit to pursue studies at any educational institution in Canada.
• Study permits will only be issued to successful applicants who are pursuing studies at an educational institution that has been designated to receive international students.
• Study permit holders pursuing studies at publicly-funded and certain privately-funded post-secondary institutions must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit to be able to work up to 20 hours per week off-campus during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks.
• Study permits will automatically authorize the holder to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit. The study permit holder must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated institution.

Any international student can apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral element of their course of study.

Only international students who are pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral part of their course of study. 

Visitors may not apply for a study permit from within Canada

Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if they are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated learning institution, or have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution.

International students who have completed their studies but hold valid study permits can remain legally in Canada until the expiration of their study permit.

A study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of studies unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada.

Study permit holders are not authorized to work after the completion of their studies while awaiting approval of their Post-Graduation Work Permit
Eligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit.

Education is the responsibility of the provinces and territories. The educational institutions that will be designated will be determined by provincial and territorial governments in coming months.

International students enrolling in courses in Canada that will last six months or less do not need a study permit. This is not changing. Students from countries whose citizens require a visitor visa will still need a valid visitor visa.

Study permit holders who are studying at a non-designated institution when the new regulations come into effect will be permitted to complete their program of study, up to a maximum of three years after the regulations take effect.

International students who are studying at a non-designated institution and hold either an Off-Campus Work Permit or a Co-Op Work Permit will be permitted to continue to use, and renew if necessary, those work permits until they complete their program of study, up to a maximum of three years after the regulations take effect.


Posted: Jun 2, 2014

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