The federal government has released a guide for international students who are coming to Canada, and navigating travel restrictions. It’s called “COVID-19: Guide for International Students in Canada Arriving from Abroad.”
Source: Study International
Heading into 2019, Canada continues to witness record breaking numbers of international students applying to its colleges and universities.
A recent change to international student visa requirements has caused concern among Nova Scotia’s English language schools, reports CBC. Introduced in July, the new legislative changes require international students in Canada to obtain a second visa before moving from secondary to postsecondary school. “What happened before the changes is students could apply for language training and university training and receive one study permit to cover the whole of the time that they were going to be in Canada,” says Sheila Nunn, president of East Coast School of Languages in Halifax. “This gave them the confidence that they knew that they would go on to the university, they didn’t have to apply for any other paperwork.” Nunn adds that the new regulations might jeopardize pathways programs currently established at NS universities.
Source: ICEF Monitor
The Canadian government has quietly introduced an important change to how it processes visas for students entering Canada to pursue conditional admissions or pathway programmes. Under the new processing policy, visa officers are instructed to issue a study permit – that is, a Canadian study visa – only for the period of the student’s prerequisite studies. After successfully concluding any such preparatory studies, the student will now be asked to apply for a further study permit to cover the period of their planned academic programme. This is a departure from the previous practice which saw visa officers issue a single study permit for the entire duration of both programmes.
For the complete article, please visit ICEF Monitor.
Canada has the “softest” approach to screening for student visa fraud, according to a recent study of four countries that are popular destinations for international students. Ellie Bothwell of Times Higher Education reports that according to the study, Canada’s provincially led system for awarding degrees “can allow more room for corruption” and has allegedly “damaged” the country’s international reputation. Report author Rachael Merola argues that Canada must take a more proactive approach to dealing with student visa fraud if it wishes to remain a top destination for students.
Canada needs to act fast in order to gain the economic benefits associated with international students, writes Kareem El-Assal for University Affairs. Some barriers currently in place in Canada may deter prospective international students and steer them in another country’s direction. Obstacles such as slow student visa processing times, inadequate settlement and integration services, and difficulty attaining permanent residency are among issues potentially hindering Canada’s ability to recruit international talent. While the government has implemented a number of strategies to combat these issues, El-Essal says that further immediate action is required to ensure the successful recruitment and retention of future skilled workers to Canada.
Source: University Affairs
According to Amit Chakma, president of [CIEC Academic Member] Western University and chair of the federal government’s Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy, the Canadian government has recently shown positive signs towards international students hoping to study in Canada. By reviewing the steps these students must take to achieve permanent residency, in addition to changes made to citizenship requirements, Canada aims to make it easier for these students to pursue an education and work in the country after graduating.
For the full article, please visit University Affairs.
According to the Edmonton Journal, Alberta’s international students are facing wait times of up to three months and are consequently being kept from presenting their research at conferences around the world. These students currently cannot leave the country without renewing their Canadian permits and visas unless they risk significant delays upon re-entering the country. These delays can affect their standing in university programs where many have studied for several years. Marcella Cassiano, a third-year PhD student in sociology at the University of Alberta, said, “International graduate students are highly mobile people. We cannot afford to be grounded in Canada for five months waiting for document renewal and miss the opportunity to present our research in international conferences.”
Canada is seventh on the list of destinations for international students but could be much higher, according to a Globe and Mail op-ed. The Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) projects that the number of students seeking education outside their home country will rise from 4.1 M in 2010 to 7.2 M by 2025. However, due in part to slow visa processing and lack of coordination, Canada could miss out. “[The challenge is] to develop a cohesive Canadian strategy to feature, highlight, promote our academic institutions, and that shouldn’t be just a city-specific or a provincial-specific strategy,” said Patricia McQuillan of Brand Matters Inc.
Source: The PIE News
Canada’s visa woes continue as multiple internal government reviews have revealed delays and errors in visa processing, seeing processing times increase by a third for study permits and double for permanent residence permits.
Members of the Canadian Bureau for International Education are “deeply concerned about the ballooning processing times that affect both their current and prospective students”, according to its vice-president, membership, public policy and communications, Jennifer Humphries.
“Timeliness, or its opposite, makes a huge difference in the choices that students make for their future,” she told The PIE News.
“To achieve the ambitions of Canada’s International Education Strategy, it is critical that government departments work together cohesively and make their shared objectives the priority, not departmental interests,” she urged. “It’s also critical that sufficient resources be allocated to deliver on the objectives.”
To read the full article, please visit The PIE News.
Source: ICEF Monitor
As Canada rises up the ranks of leading destination countries for international students, its federal government is planning some important changes to the Canadian student visa system, with the goals of establishing improved protection for students, greater accountability in the visa system, and prevention of 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 programme 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 programmes;
- Work Permit programmes will also only be accessible by full-time students who are enrolled in and actively pursuing an academic, professional or vocational programme 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 recognised 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 authorised 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 emphasise 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 programme that leads to a degree as authorised 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 programmes would be recognised under the new regulations and what the implications may be for students engaged in longer-term studies, or any language programme requiring a Work Permit, in 2014.
Gonzalo Peralta is the executive director of Languages Canada, the Canadian accrediting association for language institutes. In a recent discussion with ICEF Monitor, he noted:
“If all the stakeholders work together — governments, institutions, associations — we should see an outstanding environment for international students in Canada.
At the same time, we don’t want this new policy to have a negative impact on our sector. Language education is not recognised in the proposed regulations — the provinces have been asked to designate eligible institutions but they do not regulate language instruction — and our top priority is to have this recognition established before the regulations are implemented in January 2014.”
To that end, we have established cooperative agreements between Languages Canada and the federal government and also with provincial governments across the country. We are also 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.
Languages Canada is entirely supportive of [the proposed changes] as they pertain to issues of quality assurance, protection of students, and prevention of fraud,” says Peralta. “The devil, as they say, is in the details.”