ARCHIVED – Canada–British Columbia Immigration Agreement 2010 – Annex C

Annex C: International Students


1.0  Preamble

1.1  Canada and British Columbia agree that attracting and retaining international students is an important element of British Columbia’s international education and immigration agenda, this Annex intends to balance the dual goals of protecting the integrity of the international student program with attracting more international students to British Columbia.

1.2  In addition to bilateral work, Canada and British Columbia agree to continue to work collaboratively with other provinces towards the achievement of multilateral objectives related to international students and immigration.

2.0  Purpose and Objectives

2.1  Purpose

2.1.1  The purpose of this Annex is to: co-operate and develop partnerships in exploring policy issues supporting the entry of international students to regions across British Columbia; initiate pilot projects pertaining to international students; and institute mechanisms for implementing and evaluating the pilot projects.

2.2  Objectives

2.2.1  The objectives of this Annex are to:

  1. establish a Canada-British Columbia forum to research, discuss and develop joint initiatives addressing immigration policy issues related to international students in a collaborative framework;
  2. develop and implement initiatives that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the study permit process thus supporting the expanded entry of international students to regions across British Columbia; 
  3. cooperate on policy changes that facilitate attraction, transition of certain international students to permanent residence, and their retention in the province;
  4. ensure a mechanism exists for effective information exchange and is in accordance with applicable federal and provincial legislation and policies; and
  5. commit to explore the development of other international student initiatives for future implementation as determined jointly.

3.0  Goals and Principles for Consideration in the Development of Student Initiatives

3.1  Improve British Columbia’s attractiveness as a destination for international students to study, work and immigrate.

3.2  Recognize that international students bring significant educational, economic and cultural benefits to the province and are an important source of skilled labour for the province.

3.3  Realize British Columbia’s long-term economic development objectives through international student flows. International students can help forge and develop future trade, business and educational links between British Columbia/Canada and other countries.

3.4  Maintain the integrity of Canada’s international student program through monitoring, reporting and evaluation.

3.5  Ensure effective partnerships develop and consultations occur among British Columbia, Canada and the pertinent educational institutions to facilitate sharing of information and improve the international student program, while taking into account special challenges and issues institutions may face.

3.6  Test best-practices in select source countries to assess potential of wider applicability.

3.7  Cooperate on the development of bilateral student initiatives, including but not limited to pilot projects, best practices, and research.

4.0  Cooperation and Initiatives

4.1  Citizenship and Immigration Canada will continue to work on national initiatives to improve the service delivery and processing of applications (e.g. on-line applications, Visa Application Centers) for international students in collaboration with British Columbia and other provinces and territories. Citizenship and Immigration Canada will also work with British Columbia to disseminate information on initiatives to improve service delivery and processing of applications to international students and educational institutions to maximize use of these services.

4.2  Pursuant to section 2.2 of this Annex, Canada and British Columbia will cooperate in the development of short term and long-term initiatives including but not limited to:

  1. developing guidelines, initiatives and best practices to improve the recruitment of international students and increase the number of international students who successfully apply to study in British Columbia while balancing integrity of the international student program.  This includes, but is not limited to: developing guidelines for institutions on letters of acceptance; cooperating on outreach activities, workshops and information materials; exploring ways to evaluate outcomes for clients with study permits; exploring the recognition of dual degree programs; and exploring ways to improve the quality and completeness of applications;
  2. exploring innovative uses of instruments that identify British Columbia government-recognized post secondary institutions, such as quality assurance designations, to enhance program integrity, including to assist with the review of study permit applications, in particular as related to the acceptance of the bona fides of the institution;
  3. instituting formal mechanisms for facilitating information exchange and research on trends related to study permit processing across source countries for international students. This information will be used to assist in the development of solution oriented policies, strategies, and pilots to enable attraction of international students across institutional and educational program categories; and
  4. reviewing lessons learned from the pilot project Priority Processing of Eligible Students in the People’s Republic of China  (December 2006) to contribute to future best practices and directions that can assist with the processing of study permits at Canadian visa offices abroad.

5.0  Implementation

5.1  Governance

5.1.1  In accordance with section 10.1.1 of the General Provisions of the Agreement, the Agreement Management Committee (AMC) will determine the appropriate mandate, structure and reporting requirements for the implementation of this Annex.  In the absence of specific direction to the contrary, designated representatives (federal and provincial) will report to the AMC on an annual basis.

5.1.2  The designated representatives for the purpose of communication and notification pursuant to this Annex are:

  1. for Canada: the Director, Temporary Immigration, Immigration Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and
  2. for British Columbia: the Executive Director, Immigration and Welcome BC Branch, British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development.

5.1.3  The objectives agreed to in this Annex require a multilateral approach, which will consist of members from the government of British Columbia drawn from Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development, Ministry of Education, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada B.C./Yukon Region, and from British Columbia public post-secondary institutions, as required and where appropriate.

5.1.4  The Parties will submit plans for working arrangements and strategies to the AMC within six (6) months of the Agreement coming into force.

5.2  Dispute Resolution

In the case of a dispute or disagreement under this Annex, Canada and British Columbia agree to follow the dispute resolution process outlined in section 10.3 of the General Provisions of the Agreement.

5.3  Information Sharing

All arrangements for information sharing shall be in accordance with section 10.4 of the General Provisions of the Agreement.

5.4  Program Accountability and Evaluation

Canada will evaluate the national International Student Program on a five-year cycle so as to meet federal government accountability and evaluation requirements. Canada will undertake the evaluation of the national International Student Program, including the development of the evaluation framework and other national evaluation activities.  The cost of the national evaluation will be borne by Canada. Canada and British Columbia agree to cooperate for the purposes of evaluation and agree to share reports of their respective evaluations.

Canada and British Columbia agree to undertake a joint review of International Student Program initiatives or pilot projects under this Annex, as appropriate. Process and review timelines will be established by the AMC, referenced in section 5.1 of this Annex.

5.5  Duration and Amendments

5.5.1  In accordance with sections 10.8.2 and 11.3 of the General Provisions of the Agreement, this Annex will be valid for five (5) years from the date of the Agreement coming into force.

5.5.2  The Parties agree to evaluate the effectiveness of the Annex no later than twelve (12) months prior to its expiry.

5.5.3  Upon mutual consent of both Parties in writing, the terms and conditions of this Annex can be extended at any time prior to its expiry, subject to any required approval or authorization including the approval of the Governor in Council.

5.5.4  Amendments to this Annex will be made in accordance with section 10.8.5 of the General Provisions of the Agreement.

5.5.5  The start date and duration of the pilot projects is to be determined jointly and Parties are committed to implementing the pilots as early as possible.

5.5.6  The implementation and specific terms of each of the pilot projects will be negotiated through separate agreements between Canada and British Columbia.

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