Expat alert: New rules for study in Canada

New rules have been announced for international students who want to pursue their study in Canada. While in some regards the new rules create additional restrictions on the existing rules, in other ways international students may benefit from the changes.

New requirements have been set for the application of a study permit in Canada. While previously the intention to take up study in the country was proficient, the applicant must now demonstrate the enrollment in a study in order to be eligible for the permit.

The enrollment must be in educational institution that has been designated to receive international students, and only successful students who continue to pursue their study will be able to remain in Canada.

Furthermore, a study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of the study unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorisation to remain in Canada. Previously, graduates could complete the period the permit covers.

In the positive side, application has been made possible for those who are present in Canada on a visitor visa, provided they are at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or a visiting student at a designated learning institution, or have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution.

Rules relating to the ability to work while pursuing studies as a foreign student have also been amended, providing more options to experience the local labour market.

While previously study permit holders pursuing studies at publicly-funded and certain privately-funded post-secondary institutions had to apply for an off-Campus work Permit to be able to work up to 20 hours per week, this is no longer the case; students will automatically be permitted to work these hours during the academic session and full-time during scheduled breaks without the need to apply for a separate work permit.

Further, eligible international graduates will be authorised to work full-time after they have completed their studies until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. Previously, graduates were not permitted to work during this period.

However, eligibility to apply for a co-op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral part of their course of study has been restricted to international students who are pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution. Previously eligibility extended to all international students.

The new regulations will come into force on June 1, 2014.

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