college kidsCitizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has proposed changes to the International Student Program. These changes are intended to benefit students while taking steps to prevent and reduce fraud.

Three important changes have been proposed to the program:

  1. Regulatory changes which will limit study permits to students attending institutions which have been designated by a Canadian province or territory. Institutions will be designated based on collaboration between Federal and Provincial governing authorities. Those institutions which are not designated will still be allowed to offer courses of six months or less, which may be attended by foreign nationals on a temporary visitor visa.
  2. Eligible holders of student visas who are studying at a designated institution will be able to work off-campus on a part-time basis without applying for a work permit.
  3. Authority will be given to CIC to request proof that student visa holders are in fact studying in Canada and otherwise complying with the conditions of their visa.

These rules have been proposed with the interests of international students in mind.

“Attracting the best and brightest young minds from around the world is key to the continued success of Canada’s economy and long-term prosperity,” said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “But there are too many stories of international students who pay a lot of money and leave their families back home to study in Canada, only to find out they have been misled. These changes will help us better protect international students and the reputation of Canada’s post-secondary education system by making sure that international students are coming to quality institutions that comply with basic standards of accountability.”

The proposed changes were developed as a response to the findings of a 2011 evaluation of Canada’s International Student Program. According to CIC, many aspects of these changes have been adopted with success in countries similar to Canada. Once implemented, they will be an important factor in ensuring that Canada’s education system continues to produce the world’s leaders of tomorrow.