Back to top


Immigration Update

Critical Immigration Terms and Conditions For Foreign Students

Acceptance to a Canadian post-secondary school and the approval of a study permit is a celebratory achievement for all foreign students, providing them with excellent opportunities to enhance academic or professional skills and a pathway to permanent residence.

Once in Canada, what foreign students often fail to recognize is that strict terms and conditions apply to their stay in Canada and that these terms and conditions must be met to ensure they remain compliant with Canadian immigration laws and maintain their valid status in Canada.

A recent report from the Canadian government indicates that roughly 10 percent of international students enrolled in post-secondary institutions may not be complying with the conditions of their study permits. This figure is likely even higher, since the enrollment status of up to 20 percent of all international students was not reported by Canadian schools.

International students must comply with the following general conditions: continuous enrollment at a designated learning institution (DLI); actively pursuing studies; immediately notify IRCC of any change in post-secondary school; cease studying if the requirements of being a student are no longer met; and leave Canada upon study permit expiry.

Student specific conditions are also generally set out on the foreign national’s study permit. These conditions may vary, and are determined by the immigration officer at the time of study permit approval and issuance. These specific conditions may include: the level of studies that the foreign national may attend; location of studies; eligibility to work on or off campus, or complete a co-op term or internship; and medical reporting requirements.

Generally, foreign visa students are eligible to work up to 20 hours per week during academic sessions, and full-time during regularly scheduled breaks between academic sessions. Any unauthorized work constitutes non-compliance under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

It is easy for students to wade into grey areas that are not explicitly identified on their study permits, with the potential for lasting consequences. For example, if a student begins working full-time before their first day of their study program commences, this is considered unauthorized work.

As another example, a foreign student is granted 120 days of authorized leave from school for a semester in order to deal with a family medical issue. After 30 days, the medical issue is resolved favorably. Since it would be too late to resume studies for the semester, the student decides to use this opportunity to work 20 hours per week in order to save money for next semester’s tuition. However, since the student is on leave from studies, he or she is not permitted to engage in any work activities. In other words, this student is now non-compliant with the conditions of their study permit, and may face removal proceedings and a 6-month ban from Canada.
There are two main mechanisms by which study permit compliance is monitored. The first, is that all designated learning institutions (DLIs) are required to provide regular bi-annual reports on the academic enrolment status of their international students via the DLI compliance portal. The second audit program is targeted directly at applicants. These checks may be conducted on a random basis, or may occur if IRCC has reason to believe that noncompliance is occurring.

The penalties for non-compliance may result in enforcement action, such as removal proceedings. Applicants who are found to be non-compliant may alternatively be banned from re-entering Canada until six months have elapsed since the date that they stopped engaging in the non-compliant activity. In addition, non-compliance with study permit conditions or engaging in unauthorized work or study may also negatively affect the success of future applications to Canada, since the applicant has demonstrated a history of non-compliance.

This article was published in The Lawyer’s Daily and can be accessed here.

Express Entry Update

Today, February 5th 2020, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) issued another round of invitations to apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry system. This is the third draw of the 2020 year. IRCC issued a total of 3,500 invitations. The minimum score selected in today’s draw was 472, an increase of 1 point from the previous draw on held on January 22nd 2020.

The Express Entry program continues to remain popular, with a total of 141,491 candidates in the pool as of January 31st 2020. This is an increase in the total number of candidates in the Express Entry pool since January 20th 2020, the last date on which this data was released. As of January 31st 2020, there were 19,861 candidates in the pool with scores between 451-600. We anticipate that minimum scores will continue to be high due to the number of well qualified H1B holders in the US who are keen to obtain permanent residence in North America and have been precluded in the US based on Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

For more information about Canadian immigration, please contact our office.