Canada no longer issuing long-term study permits for international students with conditional offers

Canada has recently introduced changes to the issuing of study permits based on conditional admissions at higher education institutions due to concerns of abuse by students.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced last month that students who needed to complete a pathway or language program prior to continuing on to post-secondary study must now obtain separate study permits for each course.

Before this, students who were accepted to colleges and universities based on the condition that they first complete another course were issued a study permit for the duration of both courses, plus 90 days.

However, IRCC has said that it will no longer provide study permits for those with conditional offers, and will instead only issue a study permit for the duration of the first course.

A second permit for post-secondary study will then be allotted once the student has proven that they have fulfilled all prerequisites for further study.

According to the notice posted by the IRCC, there were concerns raised regarding the possibility of students abusing the system to find work in the country, as under the previous system, those who did not complete their prerequisite program would still be allowed to work under the study permit.  

“Once the prerequisite program has been completed, the student can apply for a new study permit and demonstrate that the requirements of the first program have been met,” it said.

IRCC explained that the changes were meant to make compliance reporting easier for institutions, adding that “students will not be negatively affected”.

Higher education providers still have their concerns, however, particularly involving delays and additional costs.

Speaking to The PIE News, Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of national language education association Languages Canada, said: “The biggest concern we have, of course, is around delays.”

He said that a student taking a language course over the summer would have a short amount of time to secure a permit that would allow them to continue their studies, as the academic year starts in September.

Peralta estimated that tens of thousands of international students would be affected by the change.

“Are [IRCC] going to be able to handle processing and other 25-40,000 permit renewals per year?” he questioned.

The association was also worried that students and schools would have to bear extra costs as a result of needing to obtain a second study permit.

“There’s a cost attached to that which is passed onto the student for – we don’t believe – any valid reason, because it’s not going to actually provide any more integrity as far as we’re concerned,” argued Peralta.

Tina Bax, founder and president of CultureWorks, an English for Academic Purposes school, agreed with Peralta, saying: “Adding an additional regulatory hoop for students who want to go on as planned seems silly.

“We used to have that regulation 15 years ago in Canada. It seems as though we’re going backwards.”

Bax added that there were other methods that the IRCC could employ in order to keep tabs on students without having them apply for two permits.

“Why not require schools to report students who don’t show up, or who leave the program, to IRCC? IRCC could then track whether the student re-enrolled somewhere else,” she suggested.

Image via Unsplash

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

Canadian colleges pilot express study scheme to reduce time on visa processing

Canada rebrands international education scheme and launches EduCanada