IRCC clarifies international student reforms

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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has ignored calls from stakeholders in the country to delay the new requirement that new post-secondary international students at undergrad and college level provide provincial attestation letters.

In further information released by IRCC, the agency said that only primary and secondary school, master’s or doctoral degree, visiting or exchange, those study permit and work permit holders already in country – as well as those family members – do not need provincial attestation letter.

Applications received before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22 of this year also do not need a letter, it confirmed.

Last week, CiCan and Universities Canada issued a joint letter appealing to the federal immigration minister to delay the letter of attestation requirement until “at least March 31”.

The attestation will serve as proof that students have been accounted for under a provincial or territorial allocation within the national cap, IRCC said.

Provinces and territories have been asked to have a plan in place for issuing the letters by March 31.

Most post-secondary study permit and non-degree granting graduate program applicants will require letters.

An IRCC spokesperson earlier this week told The PIE News that, “In the spirit of fairness, individual provincial and territorial caps have been established, which will result in much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth.”

The “expected” cap for 2024 is approximately 360,000 approved study permits, they added.

“Establishing a cap is different than the allocation. Conversations are ongoing with provinces and territories and more information will be announced in due course.”

The PIE had asked for confirmation of its calculations, including whether with 14% of Canada’s population, British Columbia could expect 50,000 study permits this year.

The BC post-secondary education ministry has said it will be able to accept 83,000 study permit applications this year, which could result in 50,000 study permits issued.

“Matching allocations with a province’s per capita share of the population is the prime consideration, but other considerations are also part of those conversations with provinces and territories,” the IRCC spokesperson told The PIE.

“More information will be announced in due course.”

Alex Usher from Higher Education Strategy Associates has previously included BC, together with Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as provinces where some institutions will inevitably lose spots.

While Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Alberta will likely see expected caps exceed current visa uptake by “significant margins”, the number of current spots in New Brunswick and Manitoba is around equal the new cap.

Usher has been scathing in the Ontario government’s, as well as Colleges Ontario’s, responses to the cap.

The IRCC confirmed to The PIE that provinces and territories “will be responsible for determining how the cap is distributed among its Designated Learning Institutions”.

“Matching allocations with a province’s per capita share of the population is the prime consideration”

“The attestation process will enable provinces and territories to distribute spaces within their allocation…

“This attestation letter will confirm that the province or territory accepts to provide the applicant with a space within their allocation.”

IRCC also clarified that individuals graduating from master’s degree that is less than two years – and who meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria – will be eligible for a longer three-year post-graduation work permit from February 15.

The length of PGWPs for programs other than master’s degrees will continue to align with the length of the study program, to a maximum of three years, it added.

It confirmed that only new students enrolling at public-private partnership colleges will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permits. Current students enrolled on the program will remain eligible as long as they meet other program eligibility criteria.

In the coming weeks, only spouses and common-law partners of international students in master’s and doctorate and professional degree–granting programs will be eligible for open work permits.

The post IRCC clarifies international student reforms appeared first on The PIE News.

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