The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is taking significant steps to enhance and uphold the integrity of the international student program in Canada. These measures are designed to protect the rights of international students and safeguard the reputation of Canadian institutions. Here, we outline the key changes and reforms introduced by IRCC in 2024.
Verification of Letters of Acceptance (LOAs)
One of the foremost measures implemented by IRCC is the introduction of an online portal for Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). DLIs are the only schools in Canada authorized to accept international students. They are now required to verify the letters of acceptance (LOAs) submitted by international students in support of their student visa applications. This verification process, accessible only to DLI representatives, must be completed within 10 calendar days. Failure to verify or the identification of a fake LOA will result in the cancellation of the student visa application and a refund of any processing fees.
It’s important to note that DLIs lose access to verify LOAs once the verification deadline has passed. These changes are a response to past abuses of Canada’s international student systems, emphasizing the need for stringent measures to protect students from fraudulent practices.
The Trusted Institutions Framework
In 2024, IRCC also introduced the “Trusted Institutions Framework” for DLIs. This framework aims to establish a two-tiered system for issuing study permits, prioritizing trusted institutions. Institutions identified within this framework will benefit from faster study permit processing, ensuring a smoother application experience for international students. While the full details of this framework are yet to be revealed, it underscores IRCC’s commitment to preserving the integrity of the international student program.
Upcoming Changes in 2024
Canada’s international student program is set for significant changes in 2024. IRCC has outlined several important reforms:
1. Increase in Cost of Living Requirement: The cost-of-living requirement for students will be raised by an additional $10,000 CAD, reflecting the changing economic landscape.
2. Review of Work Hour Cap: IRCC will reconsider the 20-hour work cap for international students, potentially providing more opportunities for students to gain work experience.
3. Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP): The facilitative measure allowing international students to count time spent abroad towards their PGWP will be discontinued, and new changes to the PGWP program will be introduced.
4. Alignment with Labor Market and Demographic Needs: IRCC intends to connect international student enrollment and PGWP issuance more directly with labor market and demographic requirements.
As Canada continues to host a growing number of international students, these measures aim to create a more secure and streamlined process while ensuring that students receive the support they need for a successful academic experience. IRCC remains committed to maintaining the program’s integrity and protecting the interests of international students in Canada.