Canada, a country renowned for its top-tier educational institutions and welcoming society, is a favored destination for global students. However, the International Student Program has been facing substantial challenges, affecting the experiences of these global schol
ars. In response, Canada's Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced a series of new measures to bolster the program and protect students from deceit.
The Current Scenario
Canada's International Student Program has been a boon for the country's economy and cultural diversity. Yet, it has also been fraught with challenges. Students have reportedly been victims of fraudulent practices, which has prompted the Canadian government to take decisive action.
The Announced Measures
The Canadian government has proposed several initiatives to strengthen the International Student Program and safeguard genuine students from fraudulent practices. Let's delve into these measures:
Enhanced Verification Process
Starting December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLI) will have to verify each applicant's acceptance letter directly with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This reinforced verification process aims to shield prospective students from fraudulent acceptance letters and prevent the issuance of a Canada study permit based on fake letters of acceptance.
Recognized Institution Framework
From the fall semester of 2024, IRCC will introduce a "recognized institution" framework. This framework will benefit post-secondary DLIs that excel in providing services, support, and successful outcomes for international students. These institutions will have the advantage of priority processing of study permits for applicants intending to attend their schools.
Reformation of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
In the upcoming months, IRCC will evaluate the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria and introduce reforms. These reforms are intended to align the program with the Canadian labour market's needs and immigration goals.
These measures signal a significant stride towards upholding the integrity of the International Student Program. They aim to circumvent financial exploitation by identifying fraudulent acceptance letters promptly. Institutions exhibiting strong support for international students will receive recognition, and their applicants will be prioritized for processing. The reforms will also enable the selection and retention of students who best meet Canada's economy and immigration goals.
"Whether an international student stays and works after graduation or returns home, we want their time as a student in Canada to have been beneficial to their growth and aspirations."
The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
The Economic Significance
International education contributes over $22 billion to Canada's economy every year, surpassing the country's exports of auto parts, lumber, or aircraft. It also supports more than 200,000 jobs in Canada. The temporary dip in international students in 2020 resulted in a loss of over $7 billion for Canada's GDP that year.
The IRCC Taskforce
In the wake of investigations into fraudulent admissions letters, an IRCC taskforce was established to collaborate with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to review the cases of affected students and graduates. The goal of this taskforce was to prevent genuine students from facing removal from Canada.
The Current Status of Cases
As of October 12, 2023, of the 103 cases reviewed, 63 were identified as genuine students and 40 were not. The taskforce is aware of additional cases yet to be reviewed, as individuals are still awaiting decisions from the Immigration and Refugee Board.
In June 2023, CBSA announced that charges had been laid against Brijesh Mishra for immigration-related offences. Mr. Mishra was identified by victims as one of the central figures involved in defrauding students. IRCC will continue to collaborate with CBSA to identify and act against unscrupulous actors who exploit genuine students.
The proposed changes to the International Student Program signify a positive shift towards enhancing the experiences of international students in Canada and protecting them from fraudulent practices. They underscore Canada's commitment to maintaining the integrity of its immigration programs and its dedication to providing a conducive environment for international students.
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This update has been compiled with the latest available information for the general information of Border Law clients and other interested parties. This Update is not comprehensive and should not be relied upon without appropriate legal advice.