Changes to the International Student Program
 
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Changes to the International Student Program

On February 12, 2014, the Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and new provisions applicable to international students were published in the Canada Gazette (DORS/2014-14).

The main amendments announced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that will enter into effect on June 1, 2014 are as follows:

  • The requirement, for study permit holders, to actively pursue their studies after their arrival in the country;
  • The requirement, for study permit holders, to attend a designated learning institution for international students and to remain enrolled in such an institution;
  • The right to work off campus, up to 20 hours a week, without a work permit;
  • The omission of the requirement for foreign nationals who are registered Indian under the Indian Act to obtain a study permit to study in Canada.

 

The International Student Program is a temporary immigration program that falls under shared jurisdiction. It requires the harmonization of regulatory provisions applicable to this clientele.

Certain provisions of the Regulation respecting the selection of foreign nationals must be reviewed in light of the amendments announced by the CIC in order to ensure harmonization. The regulatory definition of “learning institution” must be amended in function of the introduction of the notion of “designated learning institution” in the federal regulation.

Effective date

The harmonization amendments required in the Regulation respecting the selection of foreign nationals cannot be made for June 1, 2014, given the time required to complete the steps leading to the adoption of regulatory amendments, including publication in the Gazette officielle du Québec for public consultation.

The Ministère is working in conjunction with the CIC to limit the possible effects of this situation.

Tracking the status of study permit holders admitted into the country

The requirement, for study permit holders, to actively pursue their studies after their arrival in the country includes the implementation of a mechanism, by federal authorities, to track the status of study permit holders admitted into the country. This system engages the responsibility of the learning institutions.

Québec plans instead to require the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport and the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de la Science to provide information on international student enrolment based on their official data bases.

Consequently, the CIC must not solicit Québec learning institutions to register for the Designated Learning Institution Portal or to participate in the production of compliance reports on international students.

Furthermore, discussions on how this information will be processed and transmitted are ongoing between the representatives of the government departments concerned and the CIC in order to prevent any difficulties or errors regarding the interpretation of Québec data.

Frequently asked questions

Designated learning institutions

1. Effective June 1, 2014, study permit holders will be required to attend a “designated learning institution” and remain enrolled in such an institution. How do I find out if the learning institution I wish to attend in Québec is designated?

Learning institutions constituted under Québec legislation or under the authority of a Québec government department or an organization mandated by the province are automatically designated by the federal regulation.

Most of these institutions are on the list of learning institutions recognized on the site Gestion du dossier unique sur les organismes (GDUNO) published and updated regularly on the website of the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport or the Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de la Science.

Useful link

 

Transitional provisions

2. I hold a study permit and am currently attending a learning institution that does not fall under the definition of a “designated learning institution,” to be introduced in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations on June 1, 2014. Will I be able to complete my program of study and mandatory workplace internship?

To find out about the rules regarding current study permit holders and coop/internship work permits, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

 

Working off campus

3. The learning institution I represent participates in the Off-Campus Work Permit Program. Given the changes announced by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, should I continue to process requests for verification of eligibility submitted by international students who wish to obtain an off-campus work permit?

Citizenship and Immigration Canada will process all applications for off-campus work permits submitted before June 1, 2014.

For information on the rules regarding off-campus work, including those that apply to holders of off-campus work permits and international students who have already submitted an application, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

 

4. I hold a study permit but do not hold an off-campus work permit. What steps must I take in order to be able to work off campus as of June 1, 2014?

For information on the rules regarding off-campus work, including those that apply to holders of off-campus work permits and international students who have already submitted an application, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

 

5. I hold a study permit and applied for an off-campus work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Will I be able to start working off campus as of June 1, 2014?

For information on the rules regarding off-campus work, including those that apply to holders of off-campus work permits and international students who have already submitted an application, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

 

Post-graduation work

6. I hold a study permit and am currently completing my study program. I plan to apply for a post-graduation work permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Will I be able to start working full time as of June 1, 2014?

For information on the rules regarding the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website.

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