In a significant move to strengthen the International Student Program and safeguard students from fraud, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced a series of changes that will be implemented in the coming months.
These measures are intended to improve the program’s integrity and ensure that study permits are provided based on legitimate letters of acceptance.
Enhanced Confirmation Process for Letters of Acceptance
To address concerns about counterfeit acceptance letters, IRCC will require Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) to immediately confirm each applicant’s acceptance letter with the department.
This direct verification method will aid in the detection and prevention of bogus letters, hence protecting students from being misled or exploited.
Recognized Institution Framework
In a bid to streamline the application process for reputable institutions, IRCC plans to adopt a “recognized institution” framework by the fall semester of 2024. This framework will provide various benefits to DLIs, including priority processing of study permit applications.
Review of Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Criteria
IRCC has also announced a comprehensive review of the PGWP criteria, which will be the first such review in ten years. The review aims to align the program with the country’s labour market needs, regional priorities, and Francophone immigration goals. The updated criteria are expected to be introduced in the coming months.
Understanding the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)
The post-graduation work permit is a valuable program that allows international students who have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program to gain valuable work experience in Canada. This experience can be instrumental in their pursuit of Canadian permanent residency.
PGWP Eligibility Criteria
To be eligible for a PGWP, international students must meet the following criteria:
- Completion of a qualifying academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least eight months at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI)
- Maintenance of full-time student status throughout the program
- Receipt of a transcript and an official letter confirming program completion from the DLI
- Graduation from a recognized public or private post-secondary institution
PGWP Growth and Benefits
The PGWP has witnessed significant growth in recent years, reflecting its importance for international students. A Statistics Canada study revealed that the number of PGWP holders increased steadily between 2008 and 2018. The program offers several benefits, including:
- Opportunity to gain Canadian work experience
- Potential pathway to Canadian permanent residency
- Ability to contribute to the Canadian economy
The changes announced by IRCC demonstrate the department’s commitment to upholding the integrity of the International Student Program and ensuring that it continues to attract and retain talented international students.
The review of the PGWP criteria is also a positive step towards aligning the program with Canada’s evolving labour market needs and immigration goals.