292,000 Study Permits Approved for College in Canada

15 March, 2024

292,000 Study Permits Approved for College in Canada

In recent remarks to the Globe and Mail, Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller disclosed that the current allotment of study permits for international college and undergraduate students this year stands at approximately 292,000.
Effective January 22nd, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) implemented an overarching intake cap on approved study permit applications for the year, limiting the total to around 360,000 students.
This cap is intended to address the "unsustainable growth" witnessed in Canada's international student program by gradually reducing the number of approved study permits by 35% over a two-year period. IRCC has also stated its commitment to enhancing the integrity of the system.
As reported by the Globe and Mail, a respected Canadian publication, IRCC has clarified that their estimate of 360,000 new study permits approved in 2024 includes cap-exempt study permits. Consequently, the total number of new study permits for college and university undergraduate students this year is set at only 292,000.
However, it's important to note that the immigration minister lacks the statutory authority to restrict the number of approved visas; rather, their jurisdiction pertains solely to the volume of applications processed by IRCC.
During the recent meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM), the Minister highlighted this issue. He explained that the process involves estimating a level of acceptance and rejection at our end, which then leads to the issuance of visas. What we've done is set a cap on the intake at a certain level, and then we've distributed it across Canada based on population.
Furthermore, the Minister's directives to establish an application processing cap of 606,250 permits excluded certain programs, such as primary and secondary school, as well as master's and doctorate level university programs. This approach is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits in 2024, assuming an average approval rate of 60 percent.

This contrasts with the recent report from the Globe and Mail, which indicates that IRCC's objective is to approve only 292,200 new study permits for college and undergraduate students.
Moreover, IRCC did not specify initially that this processing limit also considered students who would not be affected by the cap, such as elementary and high school students, or those pursuing master's degrees.


How does Canada plan to enact this study permit cap?


IRCC has delegated the broader implementation of the study permit cap to provincial governments. In this regard, provinces are tasked with issuing Provincial Attestation Letters (PAL) to international students eligible to study at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) within their jurisdiction. These letters serve as confirmation to IRCC that the endorsed student is authorized by the province or territory where their school is situated, thus contributing towards the province’s study permit allocation.
*DLIs are the exclusive educational institutions in Canada authorized to enroll international students.
As per ministerial directives, PALs are required to be drafted and endorsed by the provincial or territorial government, and must include the applicant’s:
  • Full name;
  • Date of birth; and
  • Address.
Under the updated framework, study permit applicants will now necessitate both a letter of acceptance (LOA) and a PAL to submit their study permit applications to IRCC. Previously, international students were only mandated to provide the former. The allocation of permits to each province or territory will be determined by their respective populations.
To date, only British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba have unveiled their procedures for issuing PALs to students. Under both systems, PALs will be issued to students through their DLIs, who will then forward the applications to the provincial government upon meeting all eligibility requirements.
The federal government has set a deadline of March 31st, 2024, for all provincial governments to establish and enact their PAL delivery systems.
If you want to know more about it, stay tuned on our social media or schedule an appointment with our educational consultants.


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