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Changes for International Students – coming in June

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A number of new regulations for international students will come into force on June 1, 2014. The changes are intended to make the process easier for genuine students and to minimize abuse of the study permit program.

The Changes

The chart below compares and contrasts the current rules with the new rules as of June 1.

Current Regulations

New Regulations as of June 1

Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit. Applicants must enroll in and continue to pursue studies in Canada. Failure to do so could lead to removal from Canada.
Applicants may apply for a study permit to pursue studies at any educational institution in Canada. Study permits will only be issued to successful applicants who are pursuing studies at an educational institution that has been designated to receive international students.
Study permit holders eligible to work off-campus must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit. Study permits will automatically authorize holders to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks. There will be no need to apply for a separate work permit. The study permit holder must be pursuing academic, vocational or professional training of six months or more. Studies must lead to a degree, diploma or certificate at a designated institution.
Any international student can apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral element of their course of study. Only international students who are studying at a secondary school or a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit. The co-op placement must still be an integral part of their course of study.
Visitors may not apply for a study permit from within Canada. Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if they:

  • Are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level;
  • Are on academic exchange or are visiting students ; or
  • Have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution
International students who have completed their studies but hold valid study permits may remain in Canada until the expiration of their study permit. A study permit becomes invalid 90 days after completion of studies. To remain in Canada, the graduate must possess a valid work permit or other authorization.
After completion of their studies, study permit holders are not authorized to work until they receive a Post-Graduate Work Permit Eligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time while waiting to receive a decision on a Post-Graduate Work Permit application.
There are no references clearly stating that Registered Indians, who are also foreign nationals, are exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit. Registered Indians, who are also foreign nationals, may study in Canada without a study permit because they have the right of entry into Canada.

Who is affected by these Changes?

Any international student in Canada may be affected by one or more of these changes. This is especially true for the majority of international students who require study permits to come to Canada.

It is important to note that not all international students need to obtain a study permit. Study permit exemptions are most commonly granted to minor children residing in Canada, as well as individuals who will be studying in Canada for less than six months. More information on studying without a study permit can be found here.

Important Takeaways

The changes are by and large good news for international students, who will see some aspects of their study and work permit applications become more streamlined.

For instance, the decision to make study permit holders automatically eligible for off-campus work relieves international students of the time and stress of applying for a separate work permit. It also gives students the opportunity to gain professional experience during their studies and to connect with potential future employers. Similarly, the decision to allow graduates to work full-time while awaiting a Post-Graduate Work Permit helps students to transition smoothly into the Canadian workforce.

“These new changes were designed with students’ best interests in mind,” said Attorney David Cohen. “The Canadian government understands that international students make important contributions to our country, both economically and socially. Helping students come to Canada, and enjoy their stay here, is a win-win situation.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has stated that further details on the changes, as well as how they will be implemented, will be announced in the weeks leading up to June 1. Stay tuned to CIC News for important updates on this program.

To find out if you are eligible for a Canadian study permit, please fill out a free online assessment today.