IRCC announced significant changes to the International Student Stream that are going to have major impacts on prospective and current students in Canada. Here is a link to the announcement, and some key changes are highlighted below
- Cap on Study Permit Applications
IRCC announced that they will cap the number of study permits at 360,000 in 2024, which is a 35% decrease from last year. They will also announce another cap in 2025. Each province will be allowed to accept a certain number of international students into their schools, which will be based on the province’s size and the number of international students in the province right now. This cap does not include Masters, PhD, elementary or secondary school students.
- Letter of Attestation from the Province
The Minister has announced that as of January 22, 2024, study permit applications must include a letter of attestation from the province. Each province will have their own procedure for providing these attestation letters, and as of now, there are no announcements about how the provincial systems will work. IRCC has given the provinces until March 31, 2024 to implement their systems for providing these attestations.
- No More Spousal Work Permits for Students, with Exceptions
IRCC announced that in the coming weeks, the rules will change so that spouses of study permit holders will no longer be eligible for an Open Work Permit. However spouses of students in Masters or PhD programs will still be eligible for an open work permit. This is a change that will impact many applicants who were planning on studying in Canada and bringing their family members to support them while they study.
- Changes to PGWP Eligibility
The Minister announced that graduates from short graduate-level programs and Masters programs will be eligible to apply for 3 year post-graduate work permit programs. They also announced that as of September 1, 2024, international students studying in part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for post graduate work permits. They have indicated that the PGWP system is being reviewed, so if you are going to be applying for a PGWP this year, keep an eye out for further updates.