LANG – International Students – December 6, 2022
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- International students make immense economic, cultural and social contributions to Canada, including supporting the vitality of communities across the country.
- We have reached an all-time highest number of international students in Canada. As of the end of October, IRCC has processed over 750,300 study permit applications during the 2022 calendar year. This is a record, well beyond the 590,000 applications processed by this time last year.
- On September 28, IRCC tabled its Response to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) Report on Differential Treatment of Foreign Students. The Report made 35 recommendations, including on processing times and refusal rates for certain populations, particularly those applying from Francophone Africa to study in Quebec. IRCC agrees partially or in full with all of the CIMM’s recommendations.
- IRCC is committed to a fair and non-discriminatory immigration system and is working to address the CIMM recommendations and continues its efforts to make our programs and services more efficient, clear and consistent.
- In light of significant labour market shortages and calls to provide students with more flexible work opportunities, on November 15, a new measure came into effect, temporarily lifting the 20-hour limit on the number of hours international students can work off-campus.
- This measure is available to those who applied for a study permit by October 7.
- In addition, former students whose post-graduation work permit expires between September 20, 2021, to December 31, 2022, will have the opportunity to work in Canada for an additional 18 months.
Student Direct Stream
- To optimize the recruitment of international students who are best placed to meet Canada’s demographic and labour needs, the Student Direct Stream (SDS) program offers expedited study permit processing to applicants from select low-risk countries.
- IRCC is exploring the expansion of the SDS program to more countries. [Redacted]
- The following criteria are assessed for each country to determine SDS expansion potential:
- Key study permit metrics: application volumes, approval rates, processing time and asylum claims by study permit holders from each market. Expansion to high volume markets with high approval rates will have a greater impact and is therefore preferred.
- The presence of a financial institution able to provide a suitable GIC product and the availability of language tests approved for use in SDS, as both items are required for SDS applications
- A subjective assessment of local risk factors and caseload complexity by processing offices, to determine if processing can be centralized in-Canada, or if local processing knowledge is required.
Study Permit Processing Times and Refusal Rates
- In 2021, the Department received nearly 557,000 applications for new study permits. This compares to approximately 316,000 new study permit applications in 2020, representing a 76% increase.
- From January to October 2022, the Department received approximately 598,000 applications for new study permits (excluding extensions). This compares to approximately 464,000 for the same time period in 2021, which is about a 29% increase.
- IRCC continues to work as hard as possible to reduce processing times, by leveraging technology to develop tools and new practices to make our immigration system more agile, efficient and client-focused. These improvements also aim to ensure systems and service offerings keep pace with client expectations and volumes.
- We made investments in new technologies such as the use of biometrics, e-Applications, automated functionalities and advanced analytics support faster processing and enhance foresight for future volume fluctuations.
CIMM – French-speaking Students from Africa
- Due to growing public concern about refusal rates for study permit applications, CIMM conducted a study on the differential treatment of international students. IRCC agrees either partially or in full with all of the CIMM’s recommendations.
- The Department is prioritizing its efforts to fight against racism to prevent discrimination in the administration of our programs and policies and within our workforce and has already taken concrete steps on the recommendations from CIMM on this issue:
- Set to launch target guidelines for disaggregated data standards for diverse populations in March 2023;
- Pursuing further research on racial discrimination of Black immigrants as it relates to their immigration journey;
- Working on a Gender-based Plus analysis of Chinook and of the International Student Program; and
- Exploring the feasibility of establishing an ombudsperson office.
- The Government agrees to develop a comprehensive plan to examine study permit refusal rates, in order to better support Francophone immigration targets and help address labour shortages.
- In fall 2022, IRCC and Quebec launched a working group to examine study permit applications to Quebec, as committed to in the Government Response.
- In 2022, IRCC opened a new office in Yaoundé, Cameroon, which will focus on promotion activities, providing IRCC with a better understanding of conditions in Cameroon and Central Africa.
Temporary Lift of Restrictions on Off-Campus Work Hours
- To help address Canada’s broad-based labour shortage, from November 15, 2022 until December 31, 2023, international students who are in Canada and who have off-campus work authorization will be permitted to work an unlimited number of hours, if they submitted a study permit application by October 7.
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and Distance Learning
- During the pandemic, several measures were put in place to facilitate distance learning without impacting PGWP eligibility. Until August 31, 2023, time spent studying outside Canada will count toward the length of a PGWP as long as at least 50% of their program of study was completed from within Canada.
New Measures for Persons with Expired or Expiring Post-Graduation Work Permits
- All foreign nationals whose post-graduation work permit expired or will expire from September 20, 2021 through December 31, 2022, will have the opportunity to get an additional 18 months to work in Canada, either through a facilitative measure to change the length of their current work permit or to apply for a new one.
- These measures will also benefit those who have fallen out of status, enabling them to restore their status, even if it expired more than 90 days prior. These measures will also benefit those who have left Canada.
Supporting Facts And Figures
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