Canada Sets Study Permit Limits, Alters PGWP Rules

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, has announced significant changes to the country’s approach to international education and work. Starting with a two-year limitation on new study permits, this policy aims to ensure a sustainable inflow of temporary residents while addressing the national housing crisis.

For 2024, the target for study permit issuances has been set at approximately 360,000, marking a 35% decrease from the previous year. This new strategy introduces a province-based quota system, reflecting the population distribution across Canada. However, there are notable exceptions to this cap: it does not extend to Master’s and PhD candidates, nor to elementary and secondary school students. Furthermore, short-term language courses under six months do not necessitate a study permit, thus remaining unaffected.

The application process for study permits has also evolved. Prospective students under the cap now need to include a ‘provincial attestation’—a confirmation of their eligibility under the new quota system. Provinces are gearing up to streamline this requirement by the end of March.

Shifts are also evident in post-graduation opportunities. The Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) will cease to be accessible for graduates from public-private partnership colleges starting September 1st, 2024, due to the perceived lack of oversight in comparison to public institutions. On a brighter note, Master’s graduates can look forward to a three-year PGWP, aligning with their program’s duration.

Current students, rest assured, these adjustments will not affect your ongoing studies or work permit status in Canada. Additionally, only spouses of Master’s and PhD students will qualify for open work permits moving forward.

Industry reactions have been mixed. The Canadian Bureau for International Education highlights potential negative fallout from the abrupt cap, fearing damage to Canada’s educational brand. Colleges and Institutes Canada warns of financial repercussions, including potential layoffs and tuition hikes. Conversely, Dinesh Malhotra of The Orange Group views the cap as a critical juncture for Canada’s international image, underscoring the importance of clear communication and positive student experiences.

Similarly, Universities Canada predicts longer visa processing times due to the new attestation requirements, potentially diverting students to other countries. The modification in PGWP eligibility criteria is also expected to affect the attractiveness of Canadian education, particularly in markets like India.

Brazil’s Alexandre Argenta foresees a significant impact on educational agencies and institutions, particularly those invested in the now-restricted public-private partnerships. The industry is urged to adapt and innovate in response to these changes.

For a comprehensive overview and more industry insights, visit the IRCC website and The Orange Group’s portal.


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