Federal authorities propose stricter rules for programs for foreign students

Source: Facebook

The federal government has said it will not consider student visa applications for schools that do not maintain records of active enrollment.

The government calls the move a response to “integrity challenges” facing the international student program, which has come under increased scrutiny as Canada grapples with a housing and living crisis that poses significant challenges for communities with large numbers of international students.

The federal government also faces criticism over lax enforcement of the program’s rules and an investigation that led to the discovery of thousands of fake student visas.

“These changes to the regulations will enable IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to effectively respond to integrity challenges and address frequent instances of unethical conduct that undermine the integrity of the program,” the government said in a statement.

Under the proposed rules, institutions would be required to inform the Department of Immigration whether a student is attending school and is complying with all study permit rules.

According to the Canada Gazette, students will also need to apply for a new study permit if they want to change schools or start a new course of study.

The proposed changes are estimated to cost $87 million over the next 10 years, including costs to universities and colleges, government implementation of the changes and study permit holders who want to change schools.

Another proposed change is to increase the maximum weekly working time of international students outside of university from 20 to 24 hours to enable them to better cope with financial problems.

While the Department of Immigration is responsible for the entry and granting of permits to international students, the changes proposed by the federal government will also have to take into account jurisdictional issues, as the education system is regulated by the provinces.

Once a study permit is received from Ottawa, it is up to the provinces to decide whether a college or university will be authorized to admit an international student.

Federal authorities say they have difficulty monitoring what happens to students once they arrive in the country.

They do not know if the student is enrolled in the school listed on their study permit or if they plan to continue their studies until they are eligible to apply for a post-study work permit.

Under the proposed rules, schools will have 10 days to respond to Department of Immigration requests confirming a student’s acceptance into the program.

Colleges and universities would also have 60 days to report on each student’s enrollment status and confirm whether they are actively completing their course.

Officers will be able to conduct random checks and submit applications if they suspect that an acceptance letter is invalid or if the school has previously failed to meet its conditions.

Failure to comply with the requirements may result in the institution being placed on a suspension list, and penalty periods will be determined based on the seriousness and frequency of the non-compliance.

The final decision on placing anyone on the suspended list will be made by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, and the maximum suspension period will be 12 months.

The Ottawa provincial government responded to the proposal with “mixed reactions,” citing concerns that “larger federal authorities could undermine their educational mandate.”

A major problem in opposing Canada’s international student program is the number of international students admitted each year, which has increased dramatically over the past decade.

Last year, Canada accepted more than one million study permit applicants, up from 352,205 in 2015, when the Trudeau government first took office.