The Canadian government, in response to rising cases of student visa fraud, is introducing a series of measures to secure its ‘International Student Program‘ and ensure the welfare of authentic international students. These steps, aimed at curbing fraudulent activities and bolstering the education sector, will have a profound impact on the immigration and education landscape in Canada.
Reinforcing the Integrity of Canadian Student
Starting from December 1, designated learning institutions (DLIs) at the post-secondary level are mandated to directly verify the authenticity of every applicant’s letter of acceptance with the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). DLIs are educational institutions granted approval by provincial or territorial governments to accommodate international students. This stringent verification process seeks to combat letter-of-acceptance fraud, preventing students from encountering issues faced by their peers during fraud investigations. It ensures that study permits are issued solely based on genuine letters of acceptance, thus reinforcing the integrity of the Canadian student visa program.
Protection Against Deportation
In June, a dedicated task force was established by the IRCC, in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), to investigate fraudulent admission letters. The primary objective of this task force was to prevent genuine students from facing deportation. Of the 103 cases reviewed as of October 12, 63 were confirmed as genuine students, while 40 were not. This initiative underscores the Canadian government’s commitment to protecting legitimate international students and maintaining their presence in the country.
The impact of international students on Canada’s economy cannot be understated. Data shared by the IRCC reveals that the temporary drop in international student numbers in 2020 resulted in a staggering loss of over $7 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) for that year. International education contributes more than $22 billion to the country’s economy annually, surpassing Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber, or aircraft. Furthermore, it sustains over 200,000 jobs in Canada. These numbers underscore the vital role played by international students in Canada’s economic prosperity.
Upcoming Changes to Enhance Student Experience
To further enhance the experience of international students, the IRCC will implement a “recognized institution” framework for post-secondary DLIs by the fall semester of 2024. This framework will set higher standards for services, support, and outcomes for international students. Among the benefits for these DLIs will be the prioritized processing of study permits for students planning to attend their institutions. This initiative aims to provide students with a more streamlined and efficient application process, making it easier for them to pursue their education in Canada.
In the near future, the IRCC will conduct a comprehensive assessment of the ‘Post-Graduation Work Permit Program’ criteria. This assessment will lead to reforms that better align the program with the needs of the Canadian labor market and regional and Francophone immigration goals. These reforms are designed to enhance the post-graduation opportunities for international students and contribute to Canada’s economic and labor force needs.
In conclusion, Canada’s commitment to preserving the integrity of its student visa program and enhancing the experience of international students is evident through these measures. The nation recognizes the significant economic contributions of international students and is taking steps to protect them from fraud while strengthening its education sector. These actions position Canada as an attractive destination for international students and support its continued economic growth.