Ottawa, February 5, 2024 – In a recent update, the Canadian government has provided additional details concerning the previously announced reforms to the International Student Program (ISP). These reforms are designed to manage the program’s growth sustainably, ensuring that international students continue to enrich Canada’s campuses and communities while maintaining the integrity of the immigration system.
Key Reforms and Their Impact:
1. Introduction of Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL): Starting January 22, 2024, most new post-secondary international students at colleges or undergraduate levels will be required to submit a PAL with their study permit application. This new measure aims to align student admissions with a national cap, facilitating sustainable population growth. Applications lacking a PAL will be returned, except for exempt categories. The move seeks collaboration with provinces and territories to issue PALs efficiently, with plans to be in place by March 31, 2024.
Who Requires a PAL?
- Most post-secondary study permit applicants.
- Applicants to most non-degree granting graduate programs.
- Exemptions include primary and secondary students, master’s or doctoral degree students, visiting or exchange students, and certain in-Canada permit holders.
2. Extended Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) for Master’s Graduates: Acknowledging the value master’s graduates bring to the Canadian labor market, an extended 3-year PGWP will be available from February 15, 2024, for those graduating from programs less than 2 years in length. This initiative aims to better facilitate the transition of these highly qualified individuals to permanent residence.
3. PGWP Eligibility for Public-Private Partnership College Programs: In response to concerns over the quality of education and student support, PGWP eligibility will be restricted for graduates of public-private partnership college programs. This change is expected to influence the choice of international students, directing them towards institutions with higher education and support standards.
4. Revised Open Work Permit Eligibility for Spouses: Upcoming updates will revise the eligibility criteria for open work permits for spouses and common-law partners of international students. The new criteria will limit eligibility to partners of students in graduate and professional degree programs, aiming to streamline the benefits associated with studying in Canada.
These reforms reflect Canada’s commitment to a balanced approach in managing international student admissions, emphasizing quality education, sustainable growth, and the overall positive experience of international students in Canada. The government’s efforts to collaborate with provincial and territorial partners underline a unified approach to enhancing the ISP’s integrity and effectiveness.
For more information on these changes and how they may affect you, stay tuned to immigration2canada.com for the latest updates and in-depth analysis.