Federal government implements reforms to international student admissions

Starting December 1, all Canadian universities and colleges will be required to confirm new international student's admissions letter with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

This change comes after 103 students from India were deemed victims of fraudulent admission letters. IRCC has been investigating a scheme involving fraudulent admission letters since 2017.

On October 27, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced these reforms were to stop “bad actors from preying on [international students] for financial gain.”

In the 2022/23 academic year, UBC had 19,909 international students from over 160 countries. On a broader scope, international education is a $22 billion sector in Canada.

This change also means that study permits will be issued after the IRCC has confirmed the admission letter. Ece Kucuckolak, a third year student studying economics, said it was a “a very long process” for her to receive her student permit.

“It was definitely very hard to get a hold of the embassy [...] very slow, very hectic,” she said.

By the fall 2024 semester, the IRCC plans to adopt a "'recognized institution' framework" that will benefit post-secondary institutions "that set a higher standard for services, support and outcomes for international students."

Miller also announced “an assessment of Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) criteria over the coming months and reforms to better calibrate it to meet the needs of the Canadian labor market, as well as regional and francophone immigration goals.”

The current PGWP program allows students who graduated from Canadian institutions to gain work experience in Canada after graduation and fast track to permanent residency.

In Miller’s announcement, he warned students that “not all Designated Learning Institutions and programs make them eligible for this work permit.”

In a statement to The Ubyssey, Rella Ng, associate VP enrollment services and registrar, wrote “the university will of course follow the IRCC requirements as it applies to international students.”

“We will continue to adapt to regulations as they change and work with [the] government to ensure as smooth a process as possible for our international students,” she wrote.