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New Rules for International Students in Canada

The Canadian Government recently introduced new rules for international students that are scheduled to come into effect on June 1, 2014.  Moving forward, study permits will be limited to authorized academic institutions designated by each province and territory.  In order to be issued a study permit, international students must be both enrolled and actively pursuing their studies while in Canada.  The new regulations will enable immigration and visa officers to issue removal orders for non-compliance with the conditions of the study permit. In addition, international students must leave Canada after the completion of their studies unless they extend their status based on restricted permissible activities.  A study permit becomes invalid 90 days following the completion of studies, unless the foreign national also possesses a valid work permit or another authorization to remain in Canada. Eligible international graduates will be authorized to work full-time after their studies are completed until a decision is made on their application for a Post-Graduate Work Permit.

Although the new legislation includes unprecedented study permit restrictions, the good news is that these new changes allow improved access to work permits throughout the period that the student is in Canada. International students will be able to obtain work permits and find employment off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during their study period, and full-time during study breaks and holidays.

Another benefit of the regulations is that visitors to Canada will be able to apply for study permits from within Canada, without having to return to their home country to apply for the permit. Visitors may apply for a study permit from within Canada if 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. Only international students who are pursuing studies at a secondary school or at a designated institution may apply for a Co-Op Work Permit if a co-op placement is an integral part of their course of study.

A grace period of 3 years will be introduced so that any international students currently attending non-designated educational institutions in Canada will be able to complete their programs of study. These students will also be able to renew co-op placements and existing off-campus work permits during this grace period, up to a maximum of three years.

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