Immigration: Common Sense Changes to Canada’s International Student Program

May 3, 2014
Posted in Immigration
May 3, 2014 Asaini

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has introduced new regulations with regards to international students, which will take effect on June 1, 2014. The new rules continue to build on CIC’s increased focus on battling fraud, while introducing many common sense improvements to the program.

The most noteworthy changes to the program include:

  • Applicants will be required to enroll in and continue to pursue studies in Canada, in order to apply for, and continue to hold, a study permit.
  • New study permits will automatically authorize the holder to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks, without the need to apply for a separate work permit.
  • Certain temporary resident visitors in Canada will soon be able to apply for a study permit through an in-Canada application – under current regulations visitors are required to apply for study permits outside of Canada.
  • Study permits will become invalid 90 days following the completion of studies. As such, international students will need to be mindful of the fact that although their study permit document may not have expired; their status in Canada may be in jeopardy if they have completed their program of study.

It is important to keep in mind that international students enrolling in courses/programs in Canada that will last for six months or less do not need a study permit, this regulation is currently in force and is not being changed on June 1, 2014.

Please see below for a complete summary of the forthcoming changes:

Current regulations New regulations, as of June 1, 2014
  • 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 pursuing studies at publicly-funded and certain privately-funded post-secondary institutions must apply for an Off-Campus Work Permit to be able to work up to 20 hours per week off-campus during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks.
  • Study permits will automatically authorize the holder to work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit.
  • However, the study permit holder’s program of study must be academic, vocational, or professional training, and last for six months or more, leading to a degree, diploma or certificate at the 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 pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is 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 an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated learning institution, 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 can remain legally in Canada until the expiration of their study permit.
  • A study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of studies unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada.
  • There are no references in existing regulations that clearly state 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 as they have the right of entry into Canada.
  • Study permit holders are not authorized to work after the completion of their studies while awaiting approval of their Post-Graduation Work Permit.
  • Eligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed while they are awaiting a decision on their application for a Post-Graduation Work Permit, if one has been applied for.

Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-changes.asp


The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained. 

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