Canadian officials announced changes to eligibility and validity periods for the post-graduation work permit program.

Key Points:

  • Starting Sept. 1, international students will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit upon graduation if they are part of a curriculum licensing arrangement study program.
  • Graduates of master’s degree programs will soon be eligible to apply for a three-year work permit, instead of qualifying for a work permit based on the length of their individual study program.
  • Spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs will continue to qualify for work permits. Spouses of international students in undergraduate and college programs, however, will no longer be eligible for work permits.

Additional Information: Private colleges licensed to deliver associated public college curriculums under current licensing agreements have attracted increased international student enrollment in recent years. Canadian officials stated these programs have less oversight than public colleges and may act as a loophole with regard to post-graduation work permit eligibility. Officials also said that the current criteria determining the length of a post-graduation work permit based on the length of an individual’s study program is inefficient, as it may limit the amount of time needed to gain work experience and may potentially prevent an individual from transitioning to permanent residence in the future.

BAL Analysis: These important changes coincide with additional reforms by the Canadian government recently to raise the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applications and establish an intake cap on international student permit applications for a period of two years. These measures are designed to stabilize the overall number of students and alleviate growing pressures on housing, healthcare and other services while also ensuring genuine students receive the necessary support for their study experience.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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