Canada has announced a new verification process for international student letters of acceptance, which will come into effect on December 1, 2023.
Under the new process, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLIs) will be required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Canada – New Rules for Student Visa
This new measure is being introduced to protect international students from letter of acceptance fraud, which occurred on a large scale earlier this year, affecting over 700 Indian students. Under the fraud scheme, students were issued fake letters of acceptance from DLIs, which they used to apply for Canadian study visas.
In addition to this new rule, Canada is also adopting a “recognized institution” framework and will be conducting a review of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program.
Canada to Adopt “Recognized Institution” Framework
In addition to the new verification process, Canada will also be adopting a “recognized institution” framework ahead of the fall 2024 semester. This framework will enable priority processing of study permits for applicants who plan to attend recognized institutions.
To be recognized, an institution must meet certain criteria, including having a high compliance rate with Canadian immigration regulations and a strong track record of student success.
The recognized institution framework is designed to streamline the study permit application process for genuine students and make it more difficult for fraudulent institutions to operate.
Canada to review Post-Graduation Work Permit program
Canada will also be conducting a review of the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program for the first time in 10 years. The PGWP program allows international students who have graduated from a Canadian institution to stay in Canada and work for up to three years after graduation.
The review will focus on ensuring that the PGWP program is aligned with Canada’s labour shortages and regional immigration goals. The government has said that it will announce reforms to the PGWP program in the coming months.
Canada to Select and Retain International Students
The Canadian government has said that the goal of these new measures is to prevent genuine students from facing deportation and to better select and retain those students that are best suited to meet the needs of Canada’s economy and immigration goals.
Economic Impact of International Education
International education accounts for more than $22 billion annually in economic activities in Canada, greater than its exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft, and supports more than 2,00,000 jobs in Canada.
The temporary drop in international students in 2020 resulted in a loss of more than $7 billion for Canada’s gross domestic product that year.
Canada’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of its international education system underscores its enduring appeal as a destination for students worldwide. The newly implemented measures aim to ensure that the benefits of international education are extended to genuine students while preventing fraudulent activities.