The changes being planned for the International Students Program in Canada is both good news and bad news. It brings promising changes for authentic international students while trying to crack down on those who see the program as a mere ticket to enter Canada and are not really interested in studying. The changes are planned for implementation on June 1, 2014, and these cover different areas in the program. Here’s a before and after list of the changes.
Before: Application for study permit requires proof of intent to pursue studies in Canada.
After: Intent is no longer enough – applicants must enroll and continue studying in Canada. Those who do not pursue their studies might be removed from the country.
Before: Applicants can pursue studies in any educational institution.
After: Applicants have to pursue studies only in educational institutions that receive approval to accept international students.
Before: Approved students who are interested to work off-campus should apply for a separate Off-Campus Work Permit.
After: Approved students are automatically qualified for up to 20 hours of off-campus work weekly during academic session and full-time off-campus work during break – no need to apply for a separate permit. For a student to qualify for this perk, he must have been pursuing the training for at least 6 months already (academic, vocational, or professional), and the training he is pursuing should lead to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
Before: A Co-Op Work Permit is available to all international students as long as co-op placement is integral to their study.
After: The availability of the Co-Op Work Permit will be limited only to those studying in a secondary school, with co-op placement being integral to their study.
Before: Visitors are not allowed to apply for a study permit within Canada.
After: Visitors are already allowed to apply for a study permit within Canada if they meet the following: they’re at the pre-school, primary or secondary level; they’re on an academic exchange program or are visiting students; and they’ve completed a program that’s a condition for acceptance in an approved educational institution.
Before: International students are allowed to stay in Canada after completing their studies as long as their study permit has not expired yet.
After: A study permit, regardless of original expiration date, automatically expires 90 days after a student completes his studies. Those who wish to remain in Canada must get a valid work permit or other forms of authorization.
Before: Those who have completed a study and applied for Post-Graduate Work Permit cannot work until they have received the permit they applied for.
After: International graduates who have applied for a Post-Graduate Work Permit will already be allowed to work full-time while waiting for the results of their application.
Before: Registered Indians are not included in any of the laws that pertain to obtaining a study work permit.
After: Registered Indians are now explicitly allowed to study in Canada without a study permit.
Impact on International Students
The changes in the International Students Program is bound to affect all international students required to obtain a study permit before studying in Canada. The said changes will not affect some individuals who are granted opportunity to study in the country without a permit. These include minor children who are living in Canada and individuals who will be studying in Canada for less than half a year.
The changes will have positive benefits to eligible students, easing their way into finding work while studying and while waiting for a decision regarding further studies. These are expected to promote the best interests of Canada’s international students and allow them to enjoy more opportunities in Canada. More details are expected to be released until the implementation of the changes in June, so international students should stand by for updates.