Five Key Changes to Canada Student Permit Rules in 2024

Canada has taken a number of measures in recent months to control the admittance of foreign students, including those who are currently enrolled at Canadian universities.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller's announcement in January that the government would be imposing a two-year intake cap on applicants for visas to study abroad marked a major shift.

 In 2024, it is expected that 360,000 study permits will be approved in Canada. At the end of this year, the authorities will determine the cap for 2025.

Five Key Reforms That Will Affect International Students

  • Cap on Study Permit Applications 

On January 22, 2024, the federal government made a historic declaration announcing a two-year cap on study permit applications, which represents a major change in policy. The cap attempts to control the flow of foreign students; it is projected that 360,000 new study permits will be issued in 2024, a significant 35% drop from the year before.

There will also be a cap on the number of new foreign learners enrolled in undergraduate programs in each province and territory. Universities and institutions under their control may be subject to study permit caps set by provinces and territories.

  • Requirement for Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)

Together with their study permit application, international students seeking post-secondary education at the college or undergraduate level must submit a provincial attestation letter (PAL). Unless an exception applies, the IRCC will reject applications without a PAL. This letter certifies that, in accordance with the national cap, the student has been placed in housing within a province or territory. Provinces and territories have been advised by authorities to make arrangements for the issuance of PALs by March 31, 2024.

A provincial attestation letter (PAL) is needed by the following:

  • Most people applying for post-secondary study permits.
  • The majority of graduate programs that don't award degrees, like graduate diplomas and certificate programs.
  • Any people who are not on the list of exceptions provided below;

1. Students attending elementary and secondary education

2. People pursuing master's or doctoral degrees

3. Participants in exchange or visiting programs

4. Holders of work and study licenses issued within Canada (including those who are applying for renewals of their permits)

5. Relatives living in Canada with holders of a work permit or study permit

  • Extension of Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

Master's degree holders will benefit from extended PGWP, which will provide them more time to complete their education and obtain useful work experience in Canada.

With effect from February 15, Master's program graduates who meet PGWP eligibility requirements and complete less than two years of study may be eligible for an extended three-year work permit. PGWP duration will continue to match program length for programs other than Master's degrees, with a maximum of three years.

  • Limitations on Eligibility for Public-Private Partnership College Programs

Public colleges are permitted to license their courses for delivery through associated private institutions in certain provinces. With this agreement, students can graduate from a public university and attend a private college in person. Nonetheless, questions are being raised concerning the caliber of instruction and support services offered by these educational institutions, with the Ontario Auditor General drawing attention to problems with supervision.

The IRCC has limited PGWPs for certain projects in order to ease these concerns. The goal of this modification is to lower the number of foreign students enrolled in these programs by eliminating the PGWP application process. By addressing situations in which certain institutions put financial gain ahead of academic excellence, these initiatives hope to protect students' rights and uphold the integrity of Canada's educational system.

  • Changes to Spousal Open Work Permit Eligibility of International Students

In the upcoming weeks, the government will update the requirements for open work permits for common-law partners and spouses of overseas students. The ability of spouses to work in Canada while their partners are pursuing their education may be impacted by this development.

Spousal open work permits (SOWPs) were granted to spouses of international students who were enrolled in approved full-time study programs in Canada up to 2023.

But as of right now, only wives and common-law partners of students enrolled only in master's, doctoral, and professional degree-granting programs, such as law and medicine, will be eligible. Open work permits will no longer be available to spouses of foreign students enrolled in undergraduate or other college programs.

Canada has recently made changes to its regulations around student visas, which indicate a deliberate effort to improve the prospects and general experience of overseas students. The administration hopes to address issues with immigration control and educational quality while promoting sustainable growth with these adjustments.

These improvements also demonstrate Canada's dedication to upholding its standing as a top choice for overseas students, providing academic brilliance and a nurturing atmosphere for both individual and professional development.

At Edroots International, our skilled immigration lawyers and experts in foreign studies offer personalized assistance to help you through the process of relocating to Canada.

For professional advice suited to your needs, get in touch with us right now. Together, we can help you take advantage of Canada's bright future.