Update: As usual, IRCC bungled the role of what, from a policy perspective, is a good decision to curb low value degree-mill schools and to protect the quality of education in Canada for international students. But the requirement imposed that requires the provinces to provide applicants with a letter of attestation before IRCC can process their study permits (which was imposed without consulting with the province), shows how inept the IRCC role-out of this policy has been. To start, Ontario does not have such a system in place, meaning that thousands of international students are getting their study permit applications returned, many of which have already paid tuition to the schools. This is yet another example of IRCC mismanaging the role-out of what should have been good policy. Original blog post below:

In a welcome move aimed at curbing abuse and fostering genuine academic pursuits, Canada’s federal government has recently unveiled a series of measures set to reshape the landscape of the country’s international student program. Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced these changes, effective September 1, 2024, signalling a significant shift in the approach towards postgraduate work permits and study permit quotas.

The most notable change revolves around the cessation of postgraduate work permits for international students graduating from programs offered through Public College-Private Partnerships. Minister Miller emphasized the need to eliminate “sham commerce degrees” and expressed concern about institutions that exploit the system. He emphasized the responsibility of provinces to address and shut down such institutions.

Public College-Private Partnerships have become a focal point, with some Ontario public colleges hosting more international students than domestic ones. These partnerships involve taxpayer-funded colleges delivering curriculum to private career colleges, leading to graduates eligible for postgraduate work permits.

Moreover, the spouses of international students will no longer enjoy the privilege of obtaining work permits in Canada unless they are enrolled in graduate schools or professional programs like medicine or law.

Adding another layer to the reforms, Canada is set to implement a two-year cap on international study permits. This initiative aims to reduce the number of permits issued by 35%, down to 364,000, starting in 2023. Provinces will be assigned a fixed number of study permits based on their population, forcing them to distribute these permits among authorized institutions accepting international students.

We welcome these changes as they will help restore the integrity of the international student program and maintain a balanced approach that benefits both students and the Canadian education system.

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