Vol. 148, No. 4 — February 12, 2014
SOR/2014-14 January 29, 2014
IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION ACT
Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations
P.C. 2014-24 January 28, 2014
Whereas, pursuant to subsection 5(2) (see footnote a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote b), the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness have caused a copy of the proposed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations to be laid before each House of Parliament, substantially in the annexed form;
Therefore, His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to subsection 5(1) and sections 14 (see footnote c), 32 (see footnote d) and 53 (see footnote e) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (see footnote f), makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.
REGULATIONS AMENDING THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE PROTECTION REGULATIONS
1. The definitions “student”, “studies” and “study permit” in subsection 1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (see footnote 1) are repealed.
2. Section 2 of the Regulations is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
« permis d’études »
“study permit” means a written authorization to engage in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training in Canada that is issued by an officer to a foreign national.
3. Section 182 of the Regulations is renumbered as subsection 182(1) and is amended by adding the following:
(2) Despite subsection (1), an officer shall not restore the status of a student who is not in compliance with a condition set out in subsection 220.1(1).
4. (1) Paragraph 183(1)(c) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (c) to not study, unless authorized by the Act, this Part or Part 12.
(2) Paragraph 183(4)(b) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (b) the day on which their permit becomes invalid, in the case of a temporary resident who has been issued either a work permit or a study permit;
- (b.1) the day on which the second of their permits becomes invalid, in the case of a temporary resident who has been issued a work permit and a study permit;
5. Section 186 of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (t) and by adding the following after paragraph (u):
- (v) if they are the holder of a study permit and
- (i) they are a full-time student enrolled at a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,
- (ii) the program in which they are enrolled is a post-secondary academic, vocational or professional training program, or a vocational training program at the secondary level offered in Quebec, in each case, of a duration of six months or more that leads to a degree, diploma or certificate, and
- (iii) although they are permitted to engage in full-time work during a regularly scheduled break between academic sessions, they work no more than 20 hours per week during a regular academic session; or
- (w) if they are or were the holder of a study permit who has completed their program of study and
- (i) they met the requirements set out in paragraph (v), and
- (ii) they applied for a work permit before the expiry of that study permit and a decision has not yet been made in respect of their application.
6. Subsection 188(1) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (b), by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (c) and by adding the following after paragraph (c):
- (d) if they are an Indian.
7. Subparagraph 205(c)(i) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (i) the work is related to a research program,
- (i.1) the work is an essential part of a postsecondary academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution as defined in section 211.1,
- (i.2) the work is an essential part of a program at the secondary level
- (A) that is a vocational training program offered by a designated learning institution in Quebec, or
- (B) that is a program offered by a designated learning institution that requires students to work in order to obtain their secondary or high school diploma or certificate of graduation, or
8. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 211:
Definition of “designated learning institution”
211.1 In this Part, “designated learning institution” means
- (a) the following learning institutions:
- (i) a learning institution that is administered by a federal department or agency,
- (ii) if a province has entered into an agreement or arrangement with the Minister in respect of post-secondary learning institutions in Canada that host international students, a postsecondary learning institution located in the province that is designated by the province for the purposes of these Regulations on the basis that the institution meets provincial requirements in respect of the delivery of education,
- (iii) if a province has entered into an agreement or arrangement with the Minister in respect of primary or secondary learning institutions in Canada that host international students, a primary or secondary learning institution located in the province that is designated by the province for the purposes of these Regulations on the basis that the institution meets provincial requirements in respect of the delivery of education, and
- (iv) if a province has not entered into an agreement or arrangement with the Minister in respect of primary or secondary learning institutions in Canada that host international students, any primary or secondary level learning institution in the province; and
- (b) in the case of Quebec, the following additional learning institutions:
- (i) any educational institution within the meaning of section 36 of the Education Act of Quebec, R.S.Q. c. I-13.3,
- (ii) any college established in accordance with section 2 of the General and Vocational Colleges Act of Quebec, R.S.Q. c. 29,
- (iii) any private educational institution for which a permit is issued under section 10 of the Act respecting private education of Quebec, R.S.Q. c. E-9.1,
- (iv) any educational institution operated under an Act of Quebec by a government department or a body that is a mandatary of the province,
- (v) the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec established by the Act respecting the Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique du Québec of Quebec, R.S.Q. c. C-62.1, and
- (vi) any educational institution at the university level referred to in section 1 of the Act respecting educational institutions at the university level, R.S.Q. c. E-14.1.
List of provinces
211.2 The Minister shall publish a list of those provinces with which the Minister has entered into an agreement or arrangement in respect of learning institutions that host international students.
9. Section 212 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
212. A foreign national may not study in Canada unless authorized to do so by the Act, a study permit or these Regulations.
10. Section 214 of the Regulations is amended by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (c), by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (d) and by repealing paragraph (e).
11. Paragraph 215(1)(f) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (f) are a temporary resident who
- (i) is studying at the preschool, primary or secondary level,
- (ii) is a visiting or exchange student who is studying at a designated learning institution, or
- (iii) has completed a course or program of study that is a prerequisite to their enrolling at a designated learning institution; or
12. Subsection 216(1) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (c), by adding “and’’ at the end of paragraph (d) and by adding the following after paragraph (d):
- (e) has been accepted to undertake a program of study at a designated learning institution.
13. Subsection 217(1) of the Regulations is amended by adding “and” at the end of paragraph (a), by striking out “and” at the end of paragraph (b) and by repealing paragraph (c).
14. (1) Subsection 219(1) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
219. (1) A study permit shall not be issued to a foreign national unless they have written documentation from the designated learning institution where they intend to study that states that they have been accepted to study there.
(2) Subsection 219(2) of the Regulations is amended by striking out “or” at the end of paragraph (a) and by repealing paragraph (b).
(3) Subsection 219(3) of the Regulations is repealed.
15. The Regulations are amended by adding the following after section 220:
Conditions — study permit holder
220.1 (1) The holder of a study permit in Canada is subject to the following conditions:
- (a) they shall enroll at a designated learning institution and remain enrolled at a designated learning institution until they complete their studies; and
- (b) they shall actively pursue their course or program of study.
Loss of designation
(2) In the event that the learning institution at which the holder of a study permit is enrolled loses its designated status after the issuance of the permit by virtue of any of the following events, subsection (1) shall apply to that holder for the duration of their permit as if the learning institution at which they are enrolled continues to be a designated learning institution:
- (a) termination of an agreement or arrangement between the province and the Minister in respect of learning institutions that host international students under which the learning institution had been designated;
- (b) the coming into force of an agreement or arrangement between the province and the Minister in respect of learning institutions that host international students under which the learning institution no longer qualifies for designation; or
- (c) revocation of the designation by the province.
(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to
- (a) a person described in any of paragraphs 300(2)(a) to (i); or
- (b) a family member of a foreign national who resides in Canada and is described in any of paragraphs 215(2)(a) to (i).
Evidence of compliance with conditions
(4) The holder of a study permit must provide evidence to an officer of their compliance with the conditions set out in subsection (1) if
- (a) the officer requests the evidence because the officer has reason to believe that the permit holder is not complying or has not complied with one or more of the conditions; or
- (b) the officer requests the evidence as part of a random assessment of the overall level of compliance with those conditions by permit holders who are or were subject to them.
16. Section 222 of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
222. (1) A study permit becomes invalid upon the first to occur of the following days:
- (a) the day that is 90 days after the day on which the permit holder completes their studies,
- (b) the day on which a removal order made against the permit holder becomes enforceable, or
- (c) the day on which the permit expires.
(2) Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to
- (a) a person described in any of paragraphs 300(2)(a) to (i); or
- (b) a family member of a foreign national who resides in Canada and is described in any of paragraphs 215(2)(a) to (i).
17. Subparagraph 228(1)(c)(v) of the Regulations is replaced by the following:
- (v) failing to comply with subsection 29(2) of the Act as a result of non-compliance with any condition set out in section 184 or subsection 220.1(1), an exclusion order, or
18. (1) Despite section 7, subparagraph 205(c)(i) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as it read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continues to apply in respect of a foreign national whose application for a work permit under that subparagraph is received before the day on which these Regulations come into force but to whom a work permit has not been issued before that day.
(2) Despite section 7, subparagraph 205(c)(i) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as it read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continues to apply in respect of a foreign national who is the holder of a work permit under that subparagraph the application for which is received before the day on which these Regulations come into force and who applies for a renewal of their permit in order to continue the research, educational or training program to which their work relates, in which case the renewal shall be for the shorter of the following periods:
- (a) the period that begins on the day on which their permit is renewed and ends on the day on which their research, educational or training program ends, and
- (b) the period that begins on the day on which their permit is renewed and ends on the day that is three years after the day on which these Regulations come into force.
19. (1) Despite sections 12 and 14, subsection 216(1) and section 219 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as they read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continue to apply in respect of a foreign national whose application for a study permit is received before the day on which these Regulations come into force but to whom a study permit has not been issued before that day.
(2) Despite sections 12 and 14, subsection 216(1) and section 219 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as they read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continue to apply in respect of a foreign national who is the holder of a study permit the application for which is received before the day on which these Regulations come into force and who applies for a renewal of their permit in order to continue the program of study in which they were enrolled on the day on which these Regulations come into force, in which case the renewal shall be for the shorter of the following periods:
- (a) the period that begins on the day on which their permit is renewed and ends on the day on which their program of study ends, and
- (b) the period that begins on the day on which the permit is renewed and ends on the day that is three years after the day on which these Regulations come into force.
(3) Despite sections 15 and 17, paragraph 220.1(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations does not apply in respect of a foreign national whose application for a study permit is received before the day on which these Regulations come into force and to whom the study permit applied for is issued before, on or after that day, for the duration of that permit and, if it is renewed in accordance with subsection (2), for the period that applies in accordance with that subsection.
20. Despite section 16, section 222 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, as it read immediately before the day on which these Regulations come into force, continues to apply in respect of a temporary resident whose application for a study permit is received before that day or to whom a study permit has been issued before that day, for the duration of that permit.
COMING INTO FORCE
21. These Regulations come into force on June 1, 2014.
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issues: International student-related fraud poses risks to the immigration system and to public safety. Some foreign nationals use study permits as a means to enter Canada for purposes other than study, including conducting illegal activities. Some educational institutions take advantage of international students by promising programs of study they are unauthorized or unequipped to deliver, while others operate as visa mills with the sole purpose of facilitating the entry of foreign nationals into Canada. Such activities hurt Canada’s international reputation and may discourage prospective international students from choosing Canada as their study destination. The lack of clear requirements for both international students and the institutions that host them makes Canada vulnerable to this type of unlawful activity.
Description: The regulatory amendments limit the issuance of study permits to international students attending designated learning institutions defined in the Regulations, which include institutions designated by a provincial/territorial ministry of education. Amendments also ensure that international students are enrolled at a designated institution and actively pursuing studies while in Canada on a study permit. Further, amendments will allow eligible temporary residents in Canada to apply for a study permit from within the country, streamline work permit access to international students attending designated learning institutions, and provide certain study permit holders with the automatic authority to work part time off campus. The Regulations also allow issuance of removal orders by delegated officers in circumstances where students are not complying with new study permit conditions. Finally, the Regulations address technical issues in the wording of the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations”), as identified by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR).
Cost-benefit statement: The total estimated costs for the analysis period (2014–2023) are estimated to be $357.3 million in present value (PV). The majority of the costs are borne by non-designated educational institutions due to a decrease in tuition revenue. The total benefits resulting from the Regulations are estimated to be $525.8 million (PV). The majority of the benefits go to designated educational institutions mostly due to increased tuition revenue. The estimated net benefit of the Regulations is $168.5 million dollars (PV), which equates to a net benefit of $16.9 million per year. In addition to the monetized benefits, there are significant qualitative benefits that enhance the net benefits, including enhanced safety and security of Canadians and improved competitiveness of Canada’s education brand.
“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: The small business lens and the “One-for-One” Rule do not apply. The Regulations do not impose requirements on business. Businesses will not have a direct reporting relationship with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) by virtue of these Regulations.
Domestic and international coordination and cooperation: The Regulations rely on provinces and territories through bilateral agreements or arrangements (with the exception of Quebec) to select the institutions that can host international students. It is expected that bilateral agreements or arrangements with each province and territory will be established in time for the coming into force of these Regulations in June 2014.
CIC, in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), is responsible for managing the entry of foreign nationals into Canada for study purposes by ensuring applicants meet the necessary admissibility criteria, including having the proper documentation, and financial and security requirements. The bona fide, or honest intentions of all applicants are also assessed. CIC is also responsible for programs that provide work opportunities for certain of these international students, as well as policies and programs governing the transition of international students from temporary to permanent resident status. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act”) and the Regulations provide the legislative framework for these activities.
While CIC officers screen all visa-requiring foreign nationals seeking travel to Canada, including international students, the CBSA determines admissibility at the port of entry, investigates immigration violations and removes persons who are not authorized to stay in Canada.
Provinces and territories are constitutionally responsible for education. All regulate and have quality assurance mechanisms for public educational institutions (including universities and primary/secondary schools) and private degree-granting institutions (including private universities and colleges). Private, non-degree-granting institutions are subject to varying levels of regulation in each jurisdiction, and some of them are not regulated at all. The private language school sector in Canada is not regulated in any jurisdiction, with the exception of Nova Scotia, which announced new legislation in April 2013 that will allow for provincial regulation and oversight of language schools. Provinces and territories do not currently play a role in the selection or monitoring of educational institutions that recruit and accept international students for study purposes. Some student work permit programs, however, are delivered with assistance from provinces and territories through bilateral arrangements, which specify criteria for educational institution participation. The Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments are increasingly invested in promoting Canadian education overseas, and recognize the value of recruiting more international students to support economic growth and to address social, demographic and labour market needs over the short and long terms.
In 2006 the CBSA — Pacific Region prepared Student Fraud in the Pacific Region, (see footnote 2) a report which highlighted the CBSA’s uncovering of several hundred cases of alleged fraud within the International Student Program (ISP) in the Pacific Region. These cases involved instances of non-genuine students who entered Canada with no intention of studying, non-genuine institutions that do not physically exist and/or misrepresent their services, genuine institutions targeted by fraud, fraudulent documents, and consultants alleged to be complicit in immigration fraud. Some of the students uncovered in the investigation were linked to organized criminal activities such as prostitution, drug trafficking and gun smuggling. The CBSA concluded that student-related fraud poses risks to the immigration program’s integrity, and to public safety and national security.
The CBSA — Pacific Region report sparked a CIC-led review of the ISP in 2008. The purpose of the review was to examine the scope of fraud within the program and identify ways to improve its integrity. The review highlighted the lack of data collection by CIC on incidents of fraud within the ISP and the Department’s inability to share its limited data on international student fraud with provinces and territories. It also noted the lack of clear roles and responsibilities for provinces and territories in the management of the ISP. The review recommended creating better information exchange systems, as well as increasing the responsibilities both of provinces and territories in the management of the ISP and of educational institutions in monitoring and reporting on the status of their international students.
The 2008 ISP review resulted in a 2010 report produced by CIC, Evaluation of the International Student Program, (see footnote 3) which identified integrity gaps within the ISP, including non-genuine students and questionable educational institutions. The report noted that current efforts to mitigate the risk of fraud and misuse were varied due to the lack of an established system for data gathering and consistent reporting from host educational institutions. The report noted the need for the federal government to work with provinces and territories in order to protect Canada’s reputation as a study destination of choice and ensure that the ISP continues to benefit the country.
In June 2010, federal, provincial and territorial ministers of immigration committed to “work together to ensure that Canada continues to improve its standing as a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education.” (see footnote 4) In August of that same year, through the Council of the Federation, premiers directed ministers of education to work with provincial and territorial ministers of immigration to develop an international education marketing action plan by March 2011, and to work with the federal government to address key barriers in attracting international students.
Finally, the Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy was named on October 13, 2011, to provide guidance and direction for the development, implementation and evaluation of an international education strategy for Canada. The panel, made up of five appointed industry experts and chaired by Dr. Amit Chakma, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Western Ontario, advised on a range of issues and made recommendations to ministers of finance and trade to support Canada’s various education sectors. The report (see footnote 5) was released on August 14, 2012. It placed strong emphasis on high quality study permit applications, quality education and services offered by Canadian educational institutions, and ensuring that the entry and retention of international students is well facilitated.
Compared to its key competitors for international students, Canada is the only country that has not put in place an integrity framework that ensures international students pursue study after entry and that places requirements on educational institutions in order to determine their eligibility to host international students. The number of international students choosing Canada as a study destination has been on the rise in recent years. In 2012, 104 810 international students entered Canada, an increase of 42% since 2007. A 2012 study commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) found international students contributed more than $8 billion to the Canadian economy in 2010. (see footnote 6) Despite these successes, the ISP continues to be vulnerable to fraud and abuse from those who will exploit for personal gain either study permit holders or the program itself.
Under the Act and the Regulations, study permits can be issued to students attending any type of educational institution, whether or not it is accredited, regulated, or overseen by a provincial or territorial ministry of education, or accountable to a recognized standard-setting body. As a result, the educational institutions that currently host international students vary widely in terms of quality and accountability. In some cases, these institutions take advantage of international students by offering subpar education, or promise courses or programs of study that they are unauthorized or unequipped to deliver. Such activities hurt Canada’s international reputation. Other educational institutions are involved in more unscrupulous activities, such as operating as so-called “visa mills” with the sole purpose of facilitating the entry of foreign nationals into Canada. In these instances, some foreign nationals use study permits as a means to enter Canada for purposes other than study.
Students who have not registered or attended classes for extended periods of time, but who hold valid study permits, may remain in Canada until the expiration of their study permit. This allows foreign nationals to use the study program as a means to enter Canada for a certain duration of time under the pretense of studying and with no or limited ability for CIC or CBSA to enforce a requirement to study. This poses integrity concerns for CIC’s ISP.
CIC and CBSA have identified concerns related to work undertaken by international students attending some training institutions/businesses. The ISP has been abused by these training institutions/businesses and complicit employers have misused the ISP in order to facilitate the entry of low-skilled workers into the Canadian labour market. While current Regulations allow international students to access limited work opportunities during studies under international student work permit programs (on campus, off campus and co-op/internship programs), in some cases, nongenuine students use their study permit as a primary means to gain full access to the Canadian labour market.
Recommendations of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations
The SJCSR identified technical concerns with sections of the Regulations that relate to the ISP.
The overall objective of these amendments is to strengthen the integrity of Canada’s immigration program by explicitly requiring study permit holders to actively pursue their studies, reducing the number of non-genuine and poor quality educational institutions hosting study permit holders, and facilitating the entry into Canada of those foreign nationals that sincerely wish to obtain a Canadian education.
These objectives will be achieved through amendments to the Regulations that
- limit issuance of study permits to students attending designated learning institutions, including those designated by a provincial/territorial ministry of education to host international students;
- establish new study permit conditions requiring all students to enrol in and actively pursue a course or program of study after arrival in Canada;
- provide exemptions to those whose primary purpose is not study, including family members and those foreign nationals already exempt from study permit fees, from the conditions on study permit holders;
- provide an exemption from the requirement to obtain a study permit for foreign nationals who are registered Indians under Canada’s Indian Act;
- allow issuance of removal orders by delegated officials in circumstances where students are not complying with their study permit conditions;
- authorize temporary residents already in Canada to apply for a study permit from within Canada if they are studying at the preschool, primary or secondary level, are on an academic exchange or are a visiting student (see footnote 7) 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;
- limit access to international student work permit programs to eligible study permit holders attending a designated learning institution;
- authorize full-time international students attending designated institutions to work part time during their studies provided they hold a valid study permit and are enrolled in an academic, vocational or professional training program of a duration of at least six months; and
- re-focus work permit access for international students to better support the objective for which these programs were originally designed — providing international students with opportunities to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which will in turn help eligible students meet the requirements to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
These Regulations offer greater protection to temporary residents by preventing foreign nationals from gaining admittance to Canada through an institution whose sole purpose is the facilitation of foreign nationals into Canada. These Regulations also provide more assurances to Canadians that temporary residents on a study permit will have a positive impact on Canadian society and the Canadian labour market by ensuring that foreign students are primarily in Canada for the purpose of study and are actively contributing to the economy through tuition and living expenses. These changes also bring Canada’s policies more closely in line with those of other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Additionally, the Regulations harmonize the French and English versions, eliminate redundancy, and clarify certain expressions and definitions.
Regulatory amendment to study permit conditions
The amendments to the Regulations limit issuance of study permits to students destined to designated learning institutions. CIC officers will have the authority to refuse study permit applications submitted by a foreign national seeking to study at a nondesignated learning institution. Designated learning institutions include those designated by a provincial/territorial ministry of education to host international students. Individuals who wish to undertake courses or programs of study of six months or less, for which a study permit is not required, will continue to be able to pursue studies at a non-designated learning institution as members of the visitor class.
CIC will not play an active role in educational institution designation processes undertaken by provinces and territories; its role will be limited primarily to applying the list of designated learning institutions provided by provinces and territories when processing study permit applications. With the agreement of provinces and territories, their role in the selection of educational institutions that may participate in the ISP will be identified in bilateral CICprovincial-territorial agreements or arrangements, with the exception of Quebec, which has incorporated the classes of designated learning institutions directly into the Regulations. Individual provinces and territories will determine how and by what process educational institutions will be selected for the purpose of hosting international students. In the absence of an agreement or arrangement, officers may still be authorized to issue study permits to foreign nationals where warranted if they are granted the necessary exemptions from the new regulatory requirements relating to designated institutions on the basis of public policy considerations. These considerations would be identified by the Minister of CIC (using his authority under section 25.2 of the Act).
Even where provinces and territories have initially only designated post-secondary institutions for the purpose of hosting international students via an agreement or arrangement with the Minister to that effect, foreign nationals attending any public or private primary or secondary institution will continue to be eligible to receive a study permit, where a province or territory has not yet entered into an agreement or arrangement with CIC regarding the designation of primary and secondary learning institutions. Regulations provide the flexibility for provinces and territories to choose to designate public and private primary and secondary institutions at a later date, if an agreement or arrangement on the designation of institutions in this sector is concluded between the CIC Minister and the responsible province or territory.
Finally, regulatory amendments exempt foreign nationals registered as “Indians” under Canada’s Indian Act from having to obtain a study permit.
Regulatory amendments to in-Canada study permit applications
Certain foreign nationals who wish to apply for a study permit to attend a designated institution after they have entered Canada as a temporary resident, including those studying at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, exchange or visiting students, or those who have completed a course or program of study that is a condition for acceptance at a designated institution, are authorized under the new Regulations to apply for a study permit from within Canada instead of being required to leave the country to apply from abroad. This change facilitates the transition from visitor to study permit holder for minor students once they reach the age of majority, exchange or visiting students at a designated institution who wish to transfer to that institution permanently to complete their studies, and those students who wish to transition from a short-term preparatory to a longer-term college or university program.
Regulatory amendment to require study after arrival in Canada
The regulatory amendments establish explicit new study permit conditions requiring students to enrol in and actively pursue a course or program of study at a designated learning institution after arrival in Canada. Those foreign nationals whose primary purpose in Canada is not study, including those currently exempt from study permit fees under subsection 300(2), (see footnote 8) as well as family members of principal applicants who are authorized to apply for a study permit after entry into Canada under subsection 215(2), (see footnote 9) are exempted from new study permit conditions.
The amendments also allow CIC and CBSA officers to more effectively monitor compliance and undertake investigation or enforcement action against study permit holders who fail to enrol or actively pursue studies at a designated learning institution. The Regulations allow an officer to request study permit holders to provide evidence of compliance either when there is reason to believe that study permit conditions are not being met or as part of a random assessment of the overall level of compliance with conditions. Enforcement actions could include desk investigations undertaken by CIC or investigations undertaken by the CBSA regarding student compliance with study permit conditions and possible removals from Canada. The Regulations allow for issuance of a removal order by delegated officers in circumstances where students are not complying with new study permit conditions, rather than being referred to the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board for a hearing.
To address those students who may switch from longer to shorter-term programs under the same study permit, or who finish studies early, and who therefore may still hold a valid study permit despite no longer studying, under these Regulations a study permit will become invalid on the day that is 90 days following the completion of studies. Those students would also no longer be authorized to remain in Canada unless they also hold a valid work permit or other form of authorization to remain.
Regulatory amendments to work permit programs
The Regulations limit the nature of the work under the co-op/internship work permit program to that which is an essential part of an academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution. No change has been made to the ability of a study permit holder to apply for a work permit after entry into Canada under the regular Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
The Regulations also allow full-time students pursuing an academic, professional or vocational training program at a designated learning institution to work off-campus without a work permit. Off-campus work is allowed for up to 20 hours per week during the regular academic session and full time during regularly scheduled academic breaks. This represents time and cost savings to students who no longer need to apply and pay for a separate work permit and for CIC, as officers will no longer process off-campus work permit applications. This amendment replaces the existing program design, which requires study permit holders to wait six months after beginning their program of study before applying separately for an off-campus work permit.
Furthermore, in order to facilitate the transition to post-graduation work, these study permit holders may also work full time upon completion of their degree, diploma or certificate if an application has been made for a work permit prior to the expiration of their study permit and until a decision on the work permit has been made.
The effects of these amendments will be to exclude those students undertaking English or French as a second language (ESL/FSL) programs, or general interest or preparatory courses from the authorization to work under the off-campus work permit exemption or under the co-op work permit program.
Technical amendments addressing recommendations of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations
The amendments address technical issues in the wording of the Regulations, as identified by the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations (SJCSR). Specifically, the amendments repeal the current definition of “student,” and clarify the intent of the words “studies” and “study permit” to comply with SJCSR requirements and ensure that the intent of the definitions is compliant with the new regulations.
Those foreign nationals whose application for a study permit was received prior to the coming-into-force date of these Regulations will not be subject to the new condition of paragraph 220.1(1)(a) to be enrolled at a designated learning institution for the duration of their study permit, or in respect of its renewal, for the remainder of their study permit, or until the date that is three years after the day on which the Regulations come into force, whichever comes first. The application for such a study permit and its renewal would also be assessed under the criteria that were in effect prior to the coming into force of the Regulations. Additionally, those foreign nationals whose application for a co-op work permit was received prior to the coming-into-force date of the Regulations will not be subject to the requirement to be enrolled in an academic, vocational or professional training program offered by a designated learning institution in order to receive such a work permit. Students are expected to be actively pursuing their studies regardless of whether or not their study permit was issued before or after the coming into force of the Regulations, and enforcement action for failure to do so is available to officers. Students whose educational institution loses its designation status after the issuance of their study permits will be permitted to continue their studies there, if they wish to do so, until the end of the validity period of their study permit without being subject to any enforcement action.
Further, upon the coming into force of these Regulations, those students who already hold a study permit and are studying at a non-designated learning institution will be permitted to complete the program of study in which they were enrolled for the duration of that permit, and to obtain a renewal for this purpose for the remainder of the duration of their program of study or until the date that is three years after the day on which the Regulations come into force, whichever comes first. Additionally, those students who already hold a co-op work permit and are studying at a non-designated learning institution or enrolled in a program that does not qualify as an academic, vocational or professional training program will be permitted to continue to work in order to complete their program of study, and to obtain a renewal for this purpose for the remainder of the duration of their program of study or until the date that is three years after the day on which the Regulations come into force, whichever comes first. The provision which invalidates a study permit by the day that is 90 days following the completion of studies will not apply to those study permits the application for which was received prior to the coming-into-force date of these Regulations.
Regulatory and non-regulatory options considered
CIC and the CBSA rely on interviews of applicants to identify and deter associated fraudulent documentation, or to assess the bona fide or genuine intentions of the applicant. While interviewing can be resource-intensive, such interviews have gone some way towards identifying and deterring non-genuine students from entering Canada.
CIC officers also use public notices and orders issued by some provinces and territories regarding schools that are not conducting their business in accordance with provincial/territorial laws. For example, in July 2011, CIC issued an operational bulletin to immigration officers to identify existing lists of private career colleges that are identified by provincial/territorial regulatory bodies as having been suspended or closed, and to clarify that study permits should not be issued to students destined to these schools. Currently, only Ontario and British Columbia publish these types of lists.
While CIC and the CBSA become aware of study permit holders who are not actually pursuing study, including through information received by educational institutions, because there is no explicit regulatory requirement for an international student to pursue study after entering Canada, the CBSA cannot effectively take enforcement action. At the time of an application for renewal of a study permit, CIC does have the regulatory authority to request evidence of good standing from applicants. This goes some way towards identifying some students not actually pursuing study in Canada; however, this only addresses a proportion of the total student population.
While CIC makes available general information about the various education sectors in Canada, including basic information regarding their regulatory oversight, there are limits to the ability of CIC and the CBSA to address concerns from international students about low-quality schools, which may promise them more than they actually deliver, given that education falls solely under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories. Officers do spend time and resources assessing the genuineness of institutions, especially those in less regulated sectors. This approach does not, however, adequately reflect provincial and territorial responsibility for education and, in some cases, results in processing delays.
In summary, CIC and the CBSA could continue to operate in the absence of regulatory changes; however, this will not address key program integrity concerns and will continue to lead to processing inefficiencies on the part of CIC.
Benefits and costs
The following table provides an overview of the cost-benefit analysis (CBA) results. The costs and benefits analysis period begins in summer 2014. The first full year of impacts will be 2015. The total benefits for the period of analysis (2014–2023) are estimated to be $526 million in present value (PV) terms. The total costs resulting from the Regulations are estimated to be $357 million (PV). This results in a total net benefit of $168 million dollars (PV) over the study period, or similarly, a net benefit of $17 million per year.
Costs, benefits and distribution
Base Year 2014
Year Five 2018
Final Year 2023
A. Quantified impacts in millions of present value dollars
Processing cost savings — Work and study permits
Increased tuition revenue
Designated education sector
Enforcement and compliance costs
Government of Canada and international students
Decreased tuition revenue
Non-designated education sector
Net benefits (NPV)
B. Quantified impacts in non-dollars
Deterred non-genuine students
C. Qualitative impacts
Description of benefit
Improved competitiveness of Canada’s education brand and Canadian educational institutions
Foreign nationals studying in Canada
Enhanced consumer protection, more facilitative study and work permit application processes, and improved client service that will attract a larger share of the international student market and create a stronger demand for studies in Canada.
Improved management of the ISP
CIC, provinces and territories, Canadian public
More appropriate and efficient use of CIC resources
Enhanced safety and security
Reductions in non-genuine students entering Canada, including those potentially participating in criminal or illegal activity
Description of cost
Non-designated learning institutions
Potential adjustments to adapt study programs
Costs resulting from the process to designate institutions and to provide CIC with lists of designated schools
Once implemented, the amendments are expected to result in a cost of $357 million, of which $347 million is due to a loss of tuition to non-designated Canadian learning institutions. These costs are offset by a gain in tuition revenue to designated learning institutions of $490 million, and processing costs savings of $36 million for the Government of Canada.
With the agreement of provinces and territories, their role in the selection of educational institutions that may participate in the ISP will be identified in bilateral CIC-provincial/territorial agreements or arrangements, with the exception of Quebec, which has incorporated the classes of designated learning institutions directly into the Regulations. Given their jurisdiction over education as well as immigration, individual provinces and territories can determine how and by what process educational institutions will be selected for the purpose of hosting international students. These agreements or arrangements will generate implementation costs for provinces and territories that would not have occurred in the absence of these Regulations; these costs reflect processes related to the selection and designation of educational institutions as well as costs for the ongoing management of designation processes. Whether these costs are significant will in large part depend on the selection and management processes determined by each province or territory and are not estimated in the cost-benefit analysis for the Regulations.
After considering both the monetized benefits and many qualitative benefits, such as improved safety and security of Canadians, enhanced competitiveness of Canada’s education brand and educational institutions, and improved integrity of the ISP, the costbenefit analysis demonstrates that the benefits to Canadians, the Government of Canada and the broader Canadian economy significantly outweigh the costs.
The cost-benefit analysis (CBA) assumes that provinces and territories will designate educational institutions in their respective jurisdictions in time for the coming into force of these Regulations. The analysis also takes a conservative approach by assuming that provinces and territories will, at the outset, choose to designate public, post-secondary and private, degree-granting institutions as well as most, but not all private, non-degree institutions, although they may choose to designate additional institutions over time. According to the analysis, non-designated educational institutions will, therefore, experience significant impacts due to the regulatory changes. Virtually all the monetized costs associated with the Regulations that were considered by the analysis are expected to take the form of lost tuition revenue by non-designated learning institutions. These schools will retain the ability to host international students for programs of less than six months, mitigating some of the loss in tuition revenue.
The full CBA is available upon request.
The small business lens and “One-for-One” Rule do not apply. The Regulations do not directly impose administrative burden on business and do not require a direct relationship between business and CIC. Any administrative burden on business with respect to a designation process for the purpose of identifying which educational institution can host international students will be at the request of provinces and territories, which have full jurisdiction over education.
These amendments allow the federal government to rely on provinces and territories through bilateral agreements or arrangements to select the institutions that may host international students. No bilateral agreement or arrangement concluded under these amendments will require the federal government to craft regulations on behalf of a province or territory. The federal government will have no role in crafting provincial regulations should a province or territory undertake new regulatory processes to support the designation of educational institutions.
These amendments do not substitute a provincial process for a federal process. In the event a bilateral agreement or arrangement is not in place, these Regulations allow for the Minister of CIC or their delegate to exempt institutions from the requirement to be designated where warranted based on reasons of public policy.
These amendments do not cause the federal government to impose administrative burden costs on businesses at the request of a province or territory. The amendments do not prescribe the manner in which provinces and territories should designate institutions.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply to this proposal since under the Regulations, the burden of reporting on study permit compliance will fall on students. CIC may request on a random basis that study permit holders provide evidence, which could include proof of tuition payment and/or academic transcripts, for example, to verify that they are maintaining their compliance with study permit conditions. While institutions may be required to provide transcripts or tuition receipts to international students, they do so already on a fee-for-service basis. There is thus no incremental burden on institutions. Any burden on small businesses with respect to a designation process for the purpose of identifying which educational institutions can host international students will be at the request of provinces and territories, which have full jurisdiction over education.
In 2010, CIC and provinces and territories began formal discussions regarding the implications of the Regulations on education, which falls under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories. Provincial and territorial deputy ministers of education mandated the establishment, in consultation with CIC, of a pan-Canadian policy framework that will guide the designation of educational institutions for the purpose of hosting international students through a set of common minimum designation standards. This framework includes a number of elements specific to international students, and provinces and territories may choose to add additional elements for the designation of institutions within their respective jurisdictions.
CIC and provinces and territories first formally engaged key stakeholder groups, including major education associations and organizations representing both educational institutions and students in November 2010, by providing information on policy and regulatory directions to address ISP integrity issues. Since then, CIC has held bilateral discussions with major education associations, including the Canadian Bureau of International Education, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Languages Canada, the Canadian Alliance of Public Schools-International, the National Association of Career Colleges and the Air Transport Association of Canada. CIC also published a notice of intent in the Canada Gazette, Part I, on June 30, 2012, in order to inform the public of CIC’s intention to undertake regulatory amendments pertaining to the ISP. The intention was to allow the Department to provide information on the amendments to a broad audience, and allow members of the public and key stakeholders to provide their feedback.
CIC received 71 responses to the notice of intent. The vast majority of responses were from education associations and individual institutions in both the public and private education sectors. Overall, all respondents were supportive of the proposal and expressed interest in learning further details on how the Regulations will be implemented and the impacts they may have on international students, educational institutions and provinces and territories. Some respondents raised concerns, the majority of which related to the ability for institutions to be designated for the purpose of hosting international students. Many respondents representing private education sectors also advocated for access to CIC’s work permit programs.
In-person consultation sessions
Additional consultations were undertaken jointly by CIC and provinces and territories with key national and provincial and territorial stakeholders in international education in January and February 2013. Consultations were held in every province except Quebec, which held its own stakeholder consultation session. Discussions focussed on provincial and territorial designation policies and processes related to educational institutions as well as an overview of the regulatory changes and how they will be implemented. Sessions were well attended by a large proportion of educational institutions affected, including both larger universities and colleges as well as smaller privately owned colleges/businesses, and their representative bodies from across educational sectors, including public and private degree granting universities and colleges, private career colleges, language schools, aviation schools and theological institutions. The sessions provided representatives with an opportunity to ask questions to both CIC and provincial and territorial representatives, inform CIC and provinces and territories as to how the proposed Regulations may impact their institution or education sector, and express other concerns or suggestions related to proposed Regulations. The input and feedback CIC gathered during these sessions, was valuable to informing final Regulations and future policy directions. The manner in which this feedback was or was not incorporated into final Regulations is outlined below.
Comments received during prepublication in the Canada Gazette, Part I
Following prepublication of the proposed Regulations on December 29, 2012, in the Canada Gazette, Part I, a total of 62 respondents submitted feedback during the 45-day public comment period. Twenty-one comments (34%) were received from associations representing educational institutions, foreign students, professional occupations and trade boards. Three comments (5%) were from members of the general public. Nineteen comments (31%) were from representatives of public universities or colleges. Fifteen comments (24%) were from representatives of private institutions, including career colleges, flight training schools and theological schools, and four comments (6%) were received from language institutions. Careful review and consideration was given to the 62 official submissions received from external stakeholders. The Department also took into consideration feedback received during cross-country consultation sessions undertaken during the comment period. The Department also used this period to conduct further consultations related to stakeholder feedback, both within CIC and with other government departments, from which a few additional comments were received.
Written responses from respondents were supportive of CIC’s proposal to improve ISP integrity; however, some responses also raised concerns and objections to some aspects of the proposed Regulations. Many comments could not be addressed through changes to the Regulations, as they spoke to the educational institution designation policies that fall under the responsibility of provinces and territories. These suggestions were forwarded to provinces and territories.
Other comments were related to program policy or operational issues, such as proposals to expand access to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program, as well as concerns about current processing times for study permits and the recent closure of visa offices, etc., that are outside the scope of these Regulations. These comments are being considered by CIC officials responsible for the relevant policy or operational issues.
A series of technical comments were sent by external and internal stakeholders that resulted in few modifications and improvements to the Regulations, which are outlined in the “Description” section above. Finally, many recommendations were received, including recommendations to provide more clarity around work hours, to consider how certain terms should be defined, and to allow for flexibility in the new Regulations to accommodate both unique student circumstances and educational institution policies and practices. These have been addressed through clarifications in the “Description” section or the “Consultation” section of this Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement. Changes or amendments to the Regulations resulting, in part, from consultation sessions and written comments submitted to CIC, are outlined below.
(A) Regulatory amendments to work permit programs
Support was universally expressed for the elimination of a separate work permit for student authorization to work off campus. Some educational institutions requested that the six-month probationary period remain before a student can engage in work activities, in order to allow international students time to adjust to their new environment and course load. Given that this would require resources from both educational institutions and CIC to monitor and enforce, as well as restrict the ability for international students to make their own decisions regarding their capacity to both study and work part time simultaneously, the relevant provision in the Regulation has not been amended.
Some educational institutions requested that the requirement to obtain a co-op/internship work permit before engaging in such work also be eliminated. Given that co-op work is often full time and for a substantial period of time, the capacity of an officer to continue to assess whether or not the work is essential to the program of study is a crucial element to ensuring the integrity of the ISP. Additionally, a work permit document that clearly identifies those students who have been approved for work as part of a co-op or internship program is important to ensure the integrity of the program. The work permit allows CIC to continue to ensure that students working full time are authorized by their respective educational institution to undertake a study/work program and are undertaking work that is related to their program of study. This request, therefore, has not been incorporated into these Regulations.
Regulatory changes to limit an international student’s authorization to work off campus and/or in a co-op/internship program to students studying at a designated educational institution in an academic, vocational or professional training program were strongly opposed by Languages Canada and the language school industry, as students at language schools do not meet these requirements. The industry has identified that because students attending language schools are unable to work, the industry would experience a number of impacts, the most significant of which is economic loss. CIC has seriously considered feedback received from this sector; however, access to the Canadian labour market by international students should be refocused to align with their eligibility to remain as potential immigrants once educational credentials have been completed. This is consistent with broader departmental efforts to support the selection of foreign nationals who will succeed in the Canadian economy. Students focused on language acquisition programs generally undertake short-term studies and are often not equipped with the language skills to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s labour market, nor are they eligible to stay in Canada based on their language credentials. CIC wants to ensure that these students are clearly focused on completing their program of study during their short stay in Canada.
CIC is therefore refocusing work permit access for international students to better support the objective for which these programs were originally designed — providing international students with opportunities to gain valuable Canadian work experience, which could in turn help eligible students meet the requirements to stay permanently in Canada. The Regulations do, however, facilitate applications for study permits from within Canada for temporary residents in Canada who have completed an ESL/FSL language or other preparatory program (as a condition for entry to a university or college). By continuing their education at one of these institutions, they could become eligible to work. Language school students would not be prevented from pursuing other avenues to access work, including through the International Experience Canada program, or other programs under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, should a positive labour market opinion be granted for the latter.
(B) Regulatory amendment to limit issuance of study permits to foreign nationals destined to designated educational institutions
The definition of designated learning institutions was supported by the majority of respondents, who felt that this measure would help to reduce fraud within the International Student Program, better protect international students, and strengthen the Canadian education brand. Respondents also generally agreed that the designation of educational institutions falls appropriately under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories. Although this is not directly addressed through these Regulations, a significant number of respondents requested further details regarding provincial/territorial designation approaches and their ability to complete the designation process in time for the coming into force of these Regulations. Additionally, many commenters requested that specific programs or educational institutions be designated for the purpose of hosting international students. CIC has referred these respondents to their provincial and territorial ministries of education for further information about provincial/territorial designation approaches.
Respondents representing the various private education sectors in Canada asked that CIC put measures in place to allow educational institutions other than public post-secondary and private degree-granting institutions to continue to receive international students should provinces and territories not enter into agreements or arrangements with CIC for the purpose of designating educational institutions. More specifically, the Air Transportation Association of Canada requested that CIC recognize all flight schools that are regulated by Transport Canada under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). While the CARs are designed to ensure safety and enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian aviation industry, in many provinces, flight schools are also subject to provincial laws governing areas that are not regulated under the CARs, including, for example, requirements for student contracts, complaint procedures, refund policies and access to training completions or refunds if a private career college suddenly goes out of business. These aspects, which fall under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, are integral in supporting the objectives and outcomes of these Regulations. CIC will not, therefore, recognize the CARs as a basis for designating flight schools as it does not provide protections for consumers that are also needed to ensure the integrity of these Regulations.
Languages Canada and member schools requested that, given the lack of provincial regulatory frameworks for language training (with the exception of Nova Scotia), CIC consider exempting the language training sector from provincial designation until such time as provinces and territories can regulate this sector, or recognize the Languages Canada Quality Assurance Framework for the purpose of designating institutions at the federal level. The National Association of Career Colleges has asked that the definition of a designated learning institution include all provincially regulated career colleges, or, as a transitional measure, recognize colleges approved for the Canada Student Loans Program until provinces and territories can complete assessments of educational institutions against their respective designation criteria. Regulations have not been adjusted to accommodate these particular recommendations. Rather, to level the playing field, the Regulations eliminate the list of learning institutions that would be considered to be designated should a province or territory fail to enter into an agreement or arrangement with the Minister of CIC. This more adequately reflects the role that provinces and territories have agreed to play in support of these Regulations, given their jurisdiction over education. Further, CIC has undertaken a number of measures to ensure a smooth transition to new Regulations for all education sectors, including a delayed coming-into-force date (i.e. June 2014), transitional measures for international students within these Regulations, and ongoing partnerships with provinces and territories to manage readiness issues that may arise. In the event that an agreement or arrangement between a province or territory and the Minister is not concluded, the Minister of CIC could, as an interim measure, use his or her authority under section 25.2 of IRPA to enable officers, where justified by public policy considerations, to issue study permits to foreign nationals after granting them an exemption from the new regulatory requirement to attend a designated institution on the basis of public policy considerations established by the Minister.
(C) Regulatory amendment to allow in-Canada study permit applications
Strong support was expressed for increasing the pool of those foreign nationals eligible to apply for a study permit from within Canada. Many respondents requested that CIC expand the eligible pool of temporary residents who may apply for a study permit from within Canada to also include visiting or exchange students at a designated learning institution. Given that this is advantageous to Canada in terms of retaining qualified students, and that the number of exchange and visiting students is small and will not negatively impact processing activities in Canada, these Regulations have been amended accordingly.
(D) Regulatory amendment to require study after arrival in Canada
CIC received universal support for the proposed Regulations to explicitly require study permit holders to enroll and actively pursue their studies during the length of their study permit. Many respondents requested that CIC assign the definition of “actively pursuing studies” to educational institutions, thus allowing for discretion in the matter of approved leave for medical or personal reasons, points in time when a student is completing an assignment following the end of a program semester with academic approval, or for other approved reasons, or to amend wording such that the concept of actively pursuing studies is more precisely defined. The Regulations retain the original proposed wording, as it is consistent with existing wording under section 2 of the IRPR and broad enough to allow for flexibility in both definition and application through policy and operational guidelines, for example to accommodate special circumstances that students may find themselves in.
Additional consultations with respect to this provision were undertaken with provinces and territories and other government departments. The issue of whether or not a study permit is required for registered Indians was raised, and whether or not new study permit conditions would also apply to them. As a result of these consultations, it was decided that registered Indians should be exempt from the requirement to obtain a study permit to study in Canada. This addresses what was an inconsistency within IRPA, which is that a registered Indian was required under the Act to obtain an authorization to study in Canada, but at the same time has the right as a registered Indian to enter and remain in Canada.
The Government of Quebec has indicated that it will need to align its regulatory scheme with the federal amendments. Other provincial/territorial governments have indicated that they may implement regulatory or legislative amendments in order to be able to designate educational institutions in all education sectors, most notably those that are not currently regulated, recognized or authorized by a provincial or territorial ministry of education. The Regulations are consistent with the spirit of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program integrity measures launched in 2010. The 2010 amendments to the Regulations pertaining to temporary foreign workers strengthened worker protection and improved facilitative processes between federal and provincial and territorial governments. These amendments also increased the integrity of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program through measures that included employer monitoring and compliance enforcement. The amendments to the ISP will harmonize and strengthen overall temporary resident policy in Canada to offer greater protection to temporary residents and more assurances to Canadians that temporary residents will have a positive impact on Canadian society, the Canadian labour market and the education sector.
The Regulations also bring Canada into greater alignment with competitor countries for international students. A key difference between Canada and international education competitor countries (Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States) is that, unlike Canada, these countries allow only certain institutions to accept international students. They also require international students to meet attendance and academic standing requirements, and have authorities to remove those students who do not meet these requirements. The Australian government sets quality assurance standards for public and private education providers seeking to host international students. It also requires them to monitor student attendance and academic progress throughout their stay. Education providers that do not meet quality assurance standards are not permitted to accept international students. The United Kingdom requires education providers to meet minimum quality assurance standards and track student attendance and academic progress. The United States also only permits international students to study at schools certified to host international students through the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Student Exchange and Visitor Program and has mechanisms in place to monitor student study activities.
Additionally, the Regulations will strengthen Canada’s position as a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education, a move aligned with efforts being undertaken by DFATD to increase the numbers of international students through greater promotional work.
As described above, non-regulatory initiatives have been undertaken by CIC to address concerns about ISP integrity; however, the initiatives are not sufficient or robust enough in resolving these concerns over the longer term. In particular, limited tools are available under the Regulations to identify and enforce removals of international students who fail to pursue studies once in Canada. Under the status quo, loopholes will continue to be available to those who wish to enter Canada or facilitate entry into Canada under a stream that places no explicit conditions on foreign nationals to fulfill their original intent to study. This not only undermines the integrity of the immigration system, but it also fails to protect Canada’s brand as a destination for studies. The regulatory amendments will not only act as a deterrent to those abusing the program, but also enhance the Government’s ability to monitor compliance with new study permit conditions and undertake appropriate enforcement action.
Although the Regulations have a net monetized cost, the non-monetized benefits will outweigh the costs. In conjunction with current non-regulatory measures, regulatory amendments will enhance the integrity of Canada’s ISP by reducing fraud and ensuring Canada remains a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education, including supporting efforts being undertaken by DFATD to strengthen Canada’s education brand.
The Regulations harmonize and strengthen overall temporary resident policy in Canada to offer greater protection to temporary residents and more assurances to Canadians that temporary residents will have a positive impact on Canadian society and the Canadian labour market. Additionally, provinces and territories are increasingly invested in promoting their institutions overseas, and recognize the value of recruiting more international students to address social, demographic and labour market needs over the short and long terms.
This proposal supports recent mandates announced by Canada’s premiers through the intergovernmental group, the Council of the Federation, and provincial and territorial ministers of immigration and education to work with the federal government to address key barriers in attracting international students, increase numbers of international students, and explore ways to enhance student visa-processing operations.
These Regulations support greater security in the temporary movement of international students in Canada by enhancing CIC’s ability to monitor their compliance with study permit conditions, and withdraw the legal status of international students who fail to meet these conditions. This proposal will also contribute to the coordinated effort of the Government of Canada to eliminate human trafficking and illegal sex trade work in Canada. In its 2010 report Human Trafficking in Canada, (see footnote 10) the Royal Canadian Mounted Police noted that some migrant sex workers pay facilitators to obtain “student visas” (i.e. study permits) in order for them to gain entry into Canada for the purpose of performing illegal activities in the sex trade.
It is also expected that, as a result of this proposal, CIC will gain processing efficiencies. Since CIC officials will have access to a list of designated learning institutions, it is expected that CIC officials will have to spend less time than they do now assessing suspicious or less known schools, a step which adds to processing delays. Further, compliance data on international student trends after arrival in Canada, which is currently not available, will allow CIC officials to adjust processing based on actual risk, allowing them to more quickly process lower-risk applications. Finally, the elimination of separate work permit applications for off-campus work frees up processing resources for other priorities.
Implementation, enforcement and service standards
CIC will implement these changes in June 2014. Changes will be made to the electronic immigration processing system (the Global Case Management System, GCMS) and additional information, including the list of designated institutions, will be added to CIC’s and CBSA’s Web sites. The list of designated institutions will allow designated officers to limit study permit issuance to those students destined to learning institutions on this list. CIC and the CBSA will also amend application forms, update field manuals, and train officers on their roles in implementing the Regulations. A communications plan will be developed jointly by CIC and CBSA in order to clearly articulate changes and their impacts on international students and Canadian educational institutions and to identify where further material on these changes can be found on CIC’s and CBSA’s Web sites. This plan will include updates to CIC’s Web site and may include further outreach activities, such as public announcements, to further inform stakeholder groups of upcoming changes.
Once the Regulations come into force, CIC will undertake compliance monitoring of study permit holders in order to verify compliance with new study permit conditions. Study permit holders may be asked to produce evidence of their compliance, such as tuition receipts and academic transcripts. CIC and CBSA officers will have the ability to take enforcement action against a foreign national who fails to actively pursue studies at a designated educational institution while on a study permit in Canada, potentially leading to their removal from Canada. Enforcement activities could be carried out through existing funding sources and based on current priority levels.
CIC’s current service standard for processing of new study permit applications submitted outside of Canada is two months; this time frame is not expected to change in the short term as a result of the implementation of the regulatory amendments. Performance monitoring measurement standards will remain in place, and will be amended as required.
Performance measurement and evaluation
A performance measurement and evaluation plan has been developed for the regulatory amendments. It is available upon request.
Overall, measures have been developed to look at the impacts of the Regulations at three levels of outcomes:
Immediate outcomes are those that occur in the short term and are divided into five streams which are chiefly influenced by the behaviour of international students as a direct and immediate result of the regulatory amendments. The immediate outcomes are the following:
- International students apply to designated Canadian institutions;
- Officers act on non-compliant students that are identified;
- Study permit holders are facilitated to work part time during their studies;
- Regulations deter non-genuine students from applying; and
- Eligible visitors are able to apply in Canada for study permits.
Intermediate outcomes reflect CIC’s desired longer-term outcomes for international students and the ISP as a result of the Regulations. The intermediate outcomes of this proposal are the following:
- Improved integrity of the ISP;
- Genuine international students are actively participating in their studies; and
- Improved competitiveness of the ISP.
The final outcome occurs as a result of the achievement of the intermediate outcomes and reflects an overall goal of the Government of Canada vis-à-vis international students, which is supported by the regulatory amendments:
- Canada is a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education.
It should be acknowledged that as a result of this proposal, it is anticipated that the number of international student entries to Canada may decrease slightly after the first year of implementation. This will be in part because non-genuine international students may be deterred from applying to study in Canada as a result of stricter rules, or because students undertake short-term studies as visitors if the institution to which they have been accepted has not been designated to receive international students. After the initial year, however, international student entries to Canada are expected to increase, given that Canada will be a more attractive study destination as a result of both new facilitative measures and the ability for institutions, provinces and territories, and DFATD to market a quality Canadian education experience with greater confidence. It is also expected that there may be, over the longer term, an increase in approval rates and processing times for study permit applications, given increased confidence on the part of CIC officers regarding the educational institutions to which students are destined. Additionally, new data on study permit compliance rates will assist officers in adjusting processing according to level of risk.
An evaluation of the ISP is currently scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2013–14. Given that this regulatory proposal is anticipated to come into force in 2014, its impacts will be examined during the following evaluation anticipated for fiscal year 2018–19. The evaluation will be planned and conducted by the CIC Evaluation Division, and will examine the two main issues of relevance and performance in accordance with the Treasury Board Secretariat Policy on Evaluation.
Temporary Resident Policy and Programs
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
365 Laurier Avenue W, 8th Floor
- Footnote a
S.C. 2008, c. 3, s. 2
- Footnote b
S.C. 2001, c. 27
- Footnote c
S.C. 2013, c. 16, s. 4
- Footnote d
S.C. 2013, c. 16, par. 37(2)(b)
- Footnote e
S.C. 2013, c. 16, s. 21
- Footnote f
S.C. 2001, c. 27
- Footnote 1
- Footnote 2
Government of Canada. Canada Border Services Agency. Student Fraud in the Pacific Region. Vancouver: 2006. Print.
- Footnote 3
Government of Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Evaluation of the International Student Program. Ottawa: 2010. Print.
- Footnote 4
Citizenship and Immigration Canada. News release — Federal, provincial and territorial governments agree to improve Canada’s immigration system, June 15, 2010.
- Footnote 5
Advisory Panel on Canada’s International Education Strategy. International Education: A Key Driver of Canada’s Future Prosperity. 2012. Print.
- Footnote 6
Roslyn Kunin and Associates, Inc., Government of Canada. Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Economic Impact of International Education in Canada – An Update. Vancouver: 2012. Web.
- Footnote 7
Visiting students are students registered in a degree program at their home university who are admitted to a host university for a period of study with the intent of transferring the credits earned at the host university back to their home university.
- Footnote 8
Subsection 300(2) includes study permit fee exemptions for the following groups: refugee claimants, status refugees, members of the Convention refugees and humanitarian-protected persons abroad classes, accredited diplomats and other foreign representatives or officials, foreign members of the armed forces, customs, immigration and other American government officials and the family members of all of these individuals, as well as destitute students, and exchange students.
- Footnote 9
Subsection 215(2) includes exemptions allowing application after entry for family members of foreign nationals who hold a study, work or temporary resident permit, are subject to unenforceable removal orders, or are exempt from the requirement to obtain a work permit under paragraphs (d), (e), (h), (i) or (l) of section 186.
- Footnote 10
Government of Canada. Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Human Trafficking in Canada: A Threat Assessment. Ottawa: 2010. Print.