International students in Vancouver, Canada. International students are estimated to contribute nearly $6 billion to the Canadian annually (CICS News)
In an effort to stop abuse of the International Student Program by those seeking to work illegally in Canada and stem the growth of a student-visa mill industry that harms the reputation of Canadian educational institutions, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) on Friday proposed to parliament new regulations that would limit student visas to enrollees of institutions recognized by provinces and territories.
In announcing the measures, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney extolled the benefits of international students for Canada and his department’s intention to maintain the high educational standards of Canadian post-secondary institutions.
“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 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 rules would require that a student visa holder’s primary intent in Canada is to study, and would grant CIC the authority to request evidence from study visa holders to prove they are complying with this condition and revoke their student visas if they fail to do so.
The proposed rules would enact recommendations of a 2011 review of the International Student Program.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is looking to reduce misuse of student visas to gain access to the Canadian labour market (CICS News)
The federal government plans on tightening rules for those on student visas to reduce inappropriate use of the visas to work in Canada.
The new rules will seek to prevent the practice of gaining entrance into Canada on a student visa, but instead of attending school, using the time in Canada to work.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says that while Australia and the UK have instituted rules to ensure that organizations that claim to be educational institutions are what they claim to be, and that foreign nationals on student visas are attending classes, Canada has no such safeguards in place.
Kenney said the Immigration Department is proposing that provinces create lists of “credible post-secondary institutions”, and that only student visa applicants that enrol in a listed school be accepted. The proposal further calls for monitoring of foreign nationals on student visas to verify they are attending classes.
The proposal would also eliminate student visas for education programs that are less than six months in length, and would restrict work permits for those on student visas to work relevant to their courses, like co-ops.
The proposed restriction on work permits would eliminate one of the competitive advantages that a report by a government advisory panel says Canada has over its main competitors in attracting international students.