Breaking News: Canada’s New Student Visa Regulations 2014
O Canada! It may not be your “home and native land,” but Canada is a highly sought after spot for international students. By now you may already know our 5 Top Reasons Why Your Should Study in Canada, but prospective students should also be aware of recent changes to the International Student Visa Program. These new Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) regulations went into effect in January of 2014, and aim to make Canada an even more desirable study destination. Here, we break down everything you need to know about these changes.
1. Designated Institutions
Only select institutions approved by the Canadian government are eligible to enroll international students. These universities and colleges will be required to routinely report on the status of international students to the Canadian authorities.
2. Proof of Enrollment
While intention alone used to suffice, students must now be officially enrolled in a designated Canadian higher education institution before applying for a visa, which is mandatory for all courses of study lasting more than six months. Students from certain countries will require a visitor’s visa regardless of the length of stay.
3. Required Attendance
Not only will all international students be required to register at a designated institution, they must also demonstrate regular attendance. Students who fail to attend courses or who drop out of their programs risk deportation.
4. In-Country Visa Applications
Visiting students who are already in Canada may now apply for a study permit from within the country; this includes both exchange students and recent course graduates. Previously, international students seeking to extend their studies in another program needed to leave the country and reapply through a visa office.
5. Automatic Rights to Work
Prior to these changes, international students were required to undergo a six-month waiting period before applying for off-campus work permits. The new regulations automatically bestow full-time international students enrolled in programs lasting longer than eight months with the right to work up to 20 hours per week during the school term, and even more during school breaks. Work can begin immediately after registering with their designated host institution.
6. Changes to Post Study Work Permits
In order to maintain legal status in Canada, students must apply for a Post Study Work Permit (PSWP) within 90 days of completion of their coursework. Students may work full time during this period. If a student has not gained a PSWP or enrolled in postgraduate studies after 90 days, the visa becomes invalid.
7. A “Grandfather” Clause
International students who are already pursuing Canadian studies at non-designated institutions have up to three years to complete their programs following the implementation of the new regulations. These students will also be able to use and renew their off-campus work visas during this time period.
Key Takeaways to Canadian Visa Success
If you’re considering joining the more than 200,000 international scholars and researchers who study in Canada every year, here are a few things to keep in mind:
– Before submitting your application, you must first have an acceptance letter from a designated Canadian higher education institutions. You can procure this online or via mail.
– Both online and paper study permit applications can be obtained via the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) website or through your local visa office or Canadian embassy. Check processing times in advance, and be aware that paper applications take significantly longer. Your home country visa office will provide specific information regarding what additional documents are necessary.