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On Jan 22, 2024, Canada’s Immigration Minister announced a temporary 2-year cap on new Canadian study permits for international students. This study permit cap for 2024 will lead to a limit study permit to 360,000, a 35% decrease from 2023.
Moreover, as per the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announcement, students in public-private partnerships have been restricted from the Post-Graduate Work Permit and students' dependents' work rights have been limited.
In a positive change, PGWP periods have been extended for students enrolled in master’s programs. Master’s students can now apply for a 3-year work permit.
Students planning to study in Canada should be aware of these recently announced changes to the study permit and post-graduation work permit requirements by the Canadian government.
Keep reading for more details on the temporary study permit cap, updates in PGWP rules, and how and to whom it will affect.
Temporary Cap On Study Permits
In a press conference on 22nd January 2024, Marc Miller, the Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, introduced the two-year cap on new study permits in order to improve integrity and maintain a sustainable level of temporary residence in Canada.
The study permit cap will be reassessed in 2025.
➤ Reasons Behind Enforcing An International Student Cap In Canada
The number of study permits issued over the last decade by the Canadian government has seen a significant increase. On the other hand, to support this rising number of international students, the infrastructure development in Canada has not been at the same pace, creating pressure on the housing and healthcare systems.
Along with this, many Canadian private institutions are giving admission to more international students only to increase revenues and not improve admission and curriculum standards.
The new study permit cap was announced with the intention to give the Canadian government adequate time to build a Trusted Institutions Framework that helps maintain high-quality education standards and eliminates the bad characters of the education sector.
The temporary study permit cap ensures international students coming to Canada for education receive the right support to succeed academically and professionally.
➤ Impact Of International Student Cap On Study Permit Applicants
This new study permit cap will more likely affect the students enrolling in undergraduate programs, including bachelor's, diploma, or certificate programs.
Students enrolling in master’s or doctoral programs will be less affected or may remain unaffected.
Due to the international student cap, fewer study permits are going to be approved, making admission into Canadian DLIs more competitive for students.
➤ Effect Of Study Permit Cap On Existing Study Permit Holders
Students questioning whether the new study permit cap will affect existing study permit holders or not, the answer is NO.
Study permit cap will only impact international students submitting their study permit applications on or after January 22, 2024.
Hence, existing study permit holders looking to extend their study permit will not be affected by the new cap.
➤ Who Are Exempted From Cap?
Master’s and PhD students are fully exempted from the federal and provincial study permit caps. These students don’t even have to provide an attestation letter.
This cap will only affect students enrolling in undergraduate programs in colleges and universities in Canada.
➤ How Study Permit Cap Affects Each Province Differently?
Study permits will be allocated less in provinces where the population of international students has seen the most unsustainable growth. Hence, the study permit cap will affect provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia. Students heading to these provinces will face greater competition.
➤ Requirement Of An Attestation Letter For Canada Student Visas
Students submitting applications for a Canadian study permit after Jan 22, 2024, will now also need to submit an attestation letter as added proof in their study permit application.
Study permit applications submitted without an attestation letter will be returned to the applicant. However, each province is expected to set up a process for the issuance of attestation letters by Mar 31, 2024, which might lead to longer processing times and delays in study permit applications for international students applying for summer intake in 2024.
Updates In PGWP Rules For International Students
Students who are planning to work in Canada after completing their graduation should be aware of these new PGWP qualifications rules.
➤ Changes In Post Graduation Work Permit Eligibility
Previously, international students who completed a study abroad program longer than 8 months in Canada were eligible for post-graduation work permits.
Starting Sep 1, 2024, international students starting a study program offered by a public-private partnership institution as a part of a curriculum licensing agreement will no longer be eligible for post-graduation work permits after completion of the course.
On a good note, master’s and Ph.D. students will be soon eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.
➤ Public-Private Partnership Institution Graduates Not Eligible For Work Permits
The Canadian government has accused some public-private partnership institutions of not delivering the right education value to international students.
Below is the list of Public-Private Partnership Institutions not eligible for PGWP:
- Robertson @ACC - Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Portage @ Campbell - Edmonton, Alberta
- Algonquin College - CDI - North York Campus (PPP) Toronto, Mississauga Campus (PPP)
- Cambrian at Hanson - Brampton Campus (PPP), North York Campus (PPP) Toronto
- Canadore College - Stanford Brampton, Mississauga, Scarborough Campus (PPP)
- Fanshawe College - Toronto Campus(PPP) @ILAC
- Fleming College - Toronto Campus PPP
- Georgian College - ILAC(PPP) Toronto
- Lambton College - Mississauga, TorontoCampus (PPP)
- Loyalist College - Victoria Park Campus (Mississauga)(PPP)
- Mohawk College - Mississauga Campus (PPP) Mississauga,
- Niagara College - Toronto TSoM Campus (PPP)
- Northern College at Pures Toronto (PPP)
- Sault College - Brampton Campus (PPP), Toronto campus (PPP) @TriOS College
- Alpha College of Business & Technology
- Sheridan College at Canadian College of Technology and Trades (CCTT)
➤ Reasons Why Changes Are Made To Canada’s PGWP Program
The post-graduation work permit programs allow international students to stay in Canada temporarily, gain work experience, and contribute to the Canadian job market and economy. This program helps Canada retain talented professionals who graduated from Canadian universities and colleges.
Moreover, International students with Canadian work experience can easily qualify for permanent residence programs such as the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), Federal Skilled Worker (FSW), and Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).
Changes made to the PGWP program ensure qualified international students with quality qualifications and educational backgrounds are receiving PGWPs.
➤ Longer PGWP For Masters
As per the changes in PGWP requirements in Canada, international students enrolling in master’s, doctoral, or other short graduate-level programs will be soon eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.
Under PGWP criteria, a PGWP length is based on the length of the study program, and since the master’s and some doctoral programs are usually shorter than undergraduate programs, the PGWP criteria have limited the amount of time graduate students can stay and work in Canada.
This new IRCC PGWP eligibility update allows master and doctoral students to be eligible for a longer work permit, resulting in extending opportunities to gain valuable Canadian work experience and easier to become permanent residents.
Spousal Work Permits Will Be Limited
Until 2023, spouses of international students enrolled in full-time study programs were eligible for spousal open work permits. However, starting soon, open work permits under section C42 will only be available to spouses of international students enrolled in master’s programs, doctoral programs, or professional programs, such as law and medicine.
Spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and other college programs will no longer be eligible for open work permits once this rule comes into effect.
As an international student planning to study in Canada, it is important to be aware of recent restrictions and rules that affect the admission and study permit process.
This announcement is in favor of maintaining the greater quality of education and allowing employers to find skilled foreign talent suitable for the job market in Canada.
These changes will have a great impact on the movement of international students to Canada. Regardless of the competition, we believe qualified students will achieve their study abroad dream and find professional success with the right support.
We will continue to post the latest updates and new policies related to study abroad to keep you updated.
For study abroad queries, reach out to our consultants now.