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Studying in Canada Update December 2016

Changes on internationa student programs, what's still in effect, what to expect. We did the homework so you can concentrate on deciding what programs to choose towards a successful career.


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Studying in Canada Update December 2016
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Posted on December 30, 2016 | Canada

Changes still in effect for International Student Programs

To reduce the potential for fraud or misuse of the program while protecting Canada’s international reputation for high-quality education and improving services to genuine students the rules set on June 1, 2014 will continue to:

  • limit the issuance of study permits to applicants who will be studying at a designated learning institution, including institutions that are designated by provinces and territories on the basis of meeting minimum standards;
  • require students to actively pursue their studies while in Canada; and
  • allow full-time international students enrolled at designated institutions in certain programs to work part time off campus and full time during scheduled school breaks without a work permit.

Read the full text of the regulations - http://gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2014/2014-02-12/html/sor-dors14-eng.php.

Studying while in Canada

As of June 1, 2014, all study permit holders in Canada will need to actively pursue studies. This means that:

  • if you hold a study permit, you must remain enrolled and make reasonable and timely progress towards completing your program; and
  • failing to do so could lead to your removal from Canada.

Your educational institution will report to CIC on your continued enrolment and academic status. You may also be asked by an immigration officer to provide evidence of your continued enrolment and academic status.

If you are no longer a student you may still stay in Canada as a visitor.

Note: Under the new rules, your study permit will become invalid 90 days after you have completed your study program. If you switch to a shorter-term program or finish your studies early, your study permit will expire 90 days after your study program has been completed. Your program is considered complete when you receive written notification of program completion (for example, a transcript or an official letter) from your institution or once you obtain your degree, diploma or certificate. This does not apply to you if your study permit application was received before June 1, 2014, or if you were issued a study permit before June 1, 2014.

You may still stay - and work - in Canada after graduation. Be sure the school you enroll in is authorized to issue a Post-graduation Work Permit. 

Attending a designated learning institution

To apply for a study permit on or after June 1, 2014, you will need to have a letter of acceptance from a designated learning institution.

Each province and territory in Canada is responsible for designating schools at the post-secondary level that may enrol international students on or after June 1.

A list of designated learning institutions at the post-secondary level will be available on the CIC website by June 1, 2014.

If your study permit application is received on or after June 1 and your letter of acceptance is from an institution that is not designated for international students, your application will be refused.

  • All primary and secondary institutions in Canada are automatically designated but will not appear on the designated learning institution list. 

If your application for a study permit is received before June 1, 2014, and your letter of acceptance is from an institution that is not designated for international students:

  • your application will be processed and you may still pursue your program of study at that institution for the duration of your study permit; and
  • you will be able to renew your study permit in order to complete your program, but not beyond June 1, 2017.

If you were issued a study permit before June 1 and are studying at an institution that is not designated for international students:

  • you will be able to pursue the program of study that you are enrolled in for the duration of your current permit; and
  • you will be able to renew your study permit in order to complete your program, but not beyond June 1, 2017.

If the institution you are studying at loses its status as a designated learning institution after you have already been issued a study permit:

Changing institutions and programs; working while studying and co-op or internship

  • you will be able to pursue the program of study that you are enrolled in for the duration of your current permit; and
  • you will be able to renew your study permit in order to complete your program, but not beyond June 1, 2017.
  • Applying for a study permit on or after June 1, 2014
  • To apply for a study permit on or after June 1, 2014, you will need to identify the institution by its designated learning institution number on the application form. This number can be found on the designated learning institution list, which will be published on the CIC website by June 1, 2014.
  • You must also meet the standard eligibility criteria for a study permit.
  • You must prove that you have enough money to pay for your tuition fees;
  • living expenses for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada; and
  • return transportation for yourself and any family members who come with you to Canada.
  • If you are thinking about changing your institution or your program, you need to ensure that you continue to meet the conditions of your study permit, as well as the conditions that allow you to work, should you wish to work during your studies.

  • New rules that take effect on June 1, 2014, make it easier for study permit holders to work off campus. Full-time students pursuing an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution will be:

    • eligible to work off campus without a work permit;
    • allowed to work off campus for up to 20 hours per week during a regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled breaks; and
    • able to work off campus immediately rather than waiting six months.
  • New rules may affect your eligibility to work as part of a co-op or internship program:

    • Starting June 1, 2014, you will be able to work as part of a co-op or internship program only if the work is an essential part of an academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution.
    • To work as part of a co-op/internship program, you will need a co-op work permit that is separate from your study permit.
    • If you are studying English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL), or participating in general interest or preparatory courses, you will not be eligible to work during your studies, unless you become eligible to apply for a work permit with a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment from Employment and Social Development Canada.

 Applying for a study permit from within Canada

If you are in Canada as a visitor and wish to apply for a study permit to attend a designated learning institution, you may be able to do so from within Canada. As of June 1, 2014, certain foreign nationals may apply for and receive a study permit from within Canada. These include:

  • minor children studying at the primary or secondary level;
  • exchange or visiting students; and
  • students who have completed a short-term course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated institution.

About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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