Canada Permanent Residence (Canada PR Program)

IRCC Implements Temporary Cap on International Student Admissions: What You Need to Know

In a recent announcement, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) disclosed the implementation of a temporary cap on the issuance of study visas for international students. For the year 2024, the cap is anticipated to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, marking a significant 35% decrease from the previous year.

Notably, these caps will be enforced on a province and territory basis. However, it’s important to highlight that the caps will have no impact on current study permit holders or those seeking permit renewals. Furthermore, this regulation excludes individuals pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees.

Effective immediately, as of January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to the IRCC requires an attestation letter from a respective province or territory. Provinces and territories are expected to establish a process for issuing these letters no later than March 31, 2024. The IRCC has committed to reassessing the cap in the year 2025.

Changes to Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Eligibility Criteria

In addition to the cap on study permits, the IRCC has introduced changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), set to take effect in September 2024. Under these changes, international students starting a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for the PGWP.

Curriculum licensing agreements involve students physically attending a private college licensed to teach the curriculum of an associated public college. These programs, while popular among international students, have garnered less oversight compared to public colleges, creating a loophole in PGWP eligibility.

Additionally, the IRCC has declared that graduates from master’s programs and other short graduate-level programs will be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.

Impact on Open Work Permits for Spouses

The IRCC has specified that open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs. Unfortunately, spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible for open work permits.

These significant changes underscore the evolving landscape for international students in Canada. It is essential for prospective and current students, as well as their families, to stay informed about these developments and adhere to the updated regulations outlined by the IRCC.

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