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The following are helpful resources for education agents operating in the Canada-India education sector:
ICCRC is the new regulatory body for immigration consultants. The Council came into effect on June 30, 2011 as announced by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism. The Council’s objective is to fairly and effectively regulate immigration consultants with accountability and transparency, to protect the public interest, to maintain a public list of registered consultants and to administer a stringent complaint and disciplines process to crack down on unauthorized providers of immigration services.
Click here for an advisory that outlines the changes in Bill C-35 and specifically addresses how these new rules affect Educational Agents/Institutions. It would be in your best interest to share this news with your membership as it directly affects how they should be doing business; industry standards have changed and charges may be levied. Learn more.
GIC has now become mandatory and this is effective immediately (for the May and September intakes). The educational loan option is not available for SPP applicants.
The prepayment of the first semester fee is now okay. The pre-payment of first year tuition is not mandatory. It is very important though that the amount requested on the letter of acceptance matches the fee receipt submitted.
Any students that received a letter of acceptance asking for the first year fee can request that we re-send an updated LOA asking for only the first semester fee for both May and September intakes. If a student submits an LOA that states first year tuition is required (but does not get an updated LOA from us) and only submits a receipt for the first semester fee, this may cause a problem for student.
New Regulations Proposed For Student Visa In Canada
As Canada rises up the ranks of leading destination countries for international students, the Federal government is planning some important changes to the Canadian student visa system, with the goals of establishing improved protections for students, greater accountability in the visa system, and preventing fraud.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has just announced that in January 2014, the following changes will take effect for student visas (also known within Canada as “Study Permits”):
- All Study Permit holders will be required to be enrolled and actively pursuing a course or program of study at a designated education institution after arrival in Canada, in order to maintain legal status;
- Provincial/territorial governments will designate institutions that are eligible to receive international students, and only students admitted to those institutions will be able to secure a Study Permit;
- Designated institutions will have to report to provinces/territories and CIC on international student enrolment and good standing status;
- Only those students attending designated education institutions will be granted access to Work Permit programs;
- Work Permit programs will also only be accessible by full-time students who are enrolled in and actively pursuing an academic, professional or vocational program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
- Full-time international students with valid Study Permits will be allowed to work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week without a Work Permit (that is, Off-Campus Work Permits would no longer be required for such students).
- Those institutions that do wish to be designated as eligible to host international students will have to minimally comply with a set of common standards:
- Be recognized by the Provincial/Territorial government as being in good standing;
- Have adopted policies and put procedures in place that protect international students including a transparent tuition-fee refund policy made available to all incoming students;
- Have clear and well-communicated policies re: language proficiency and credential assessment and recognition for international students;
- Have sufficient administrative capacity to provide services that meet the unique needs of international students;
- Undertake promotional activities authorized by the province/territory and in line with the Education Canada brand;
- Publish a policy that outlines what it takes to be a student in good standing (and this must be consistent with provincial/territorial requirements);
- Maintain enrolment-reporting requirements and have a designated individual responsible for confirming the initial enrolment of a student with a Study Permit and reporting on the ongoing enrolment status of all international students with Study Permits at the institution.
Who is eligible?
There are a number of questions arising from the proposed CIC changes but a key one is which institutions will be designated as eligible to receive international students.
If provinces are designating eligible institutions, it seems likely that most will emphasize institutions that are directly under their jurisdiction — that is, those that are regulated in one way or another by provincial or territorial governments in Canada.
This tendency is reflected in the official CIC release that anticipates eligibility for the following categories of institution:
- Public post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province (as well as private post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec that operate under the same rules as public ones there);
- Private post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province but only when students are enrolled in a study program that leads to a degree as authorized by the province;
- Learning institutions within a public school board or district that are funded by and accountable to the province;
- Independent or private learning institutions that deliver provincial curricula.
Canadian language institutes, which are not commonly regulated at the provincial level, do not appear on this list. This raises the question of how such programs would be recognized under the new regulations and what the implications may be for students engaged in longer-term studies, or any language program requiring a Work Permit, in 2014.
While language education is not recognized in the proposed regulations — the provinces have been asked to designate eligible institutions but they do not regulate language instruction — and a top priority is to have this recognition established before the regulations are implemented in January 2014.
To that end, Languages Canada has established cooperative agreements with the federal and provincial governments and will also be participating fully in CIC’s consultative process for the new regulations.”
Consultation before implementation
CIC is now entering into a consultation process with all stakeholders who will be affected by the changes, including provincial/territorial governments and education associations. The intent of the consultations will be to fully communicate the extent and intended interpretation of the changes as well as to refine the regulations further as required.
While questions around the implementation of the proposed changes remain, CIC’s goal of increasing the integrity and accountability of Canada’s International Student Program is being supported by most stakeholders.
Important new content has been added to the Canada Course; Section H: Applying to Work, Study, and Stay in Canada. This section will help agents understand how to better respond to students’ questions about visa and immigration protocols in Canada.
If you wish to study the Canada Course and attain Graduate status please review all of the course material, including the new section. Before scheduling your exam, we recommend you undertake the Self-Assessment Test which is very similar in content and format to the final exam, and which can be found on the course home page.
Final testing will be available online, and at all ICEF Workshops (from May 9, 2013), at a cost of CAN$350. If you feel you are ready to take the exam please send us an email as soon as possible so that we can make testing arrangements.
Agents who successfully pass the exam will receive the official designation of ‘Canada Course Graduate’ as an acknowledgement of this achievement, and will be listed on the Canada Course website, along with their agency details.
Please contact the ICEF Agent Relations Team if you have any questions.