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Strengthening Canada’s international student program

New measures to prevent fraud in the International Student Program (ISP) were proposed by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “Attracting the best and brightest young minds from around the world is key to the continued success of Canada’s economy and long-term prosperity,” he said. “But there are too many stories of international students who pay a lot of money and leave their families back home to study in Canada, only to find they have been misled. These changes will help us better protect international students and the reputation of Canada’s post-secondary education system by making sure that international students are coming to quality institutions that comply with basic standards of accountability.”

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing regulatory changes to limit study permits to students attending institutions designated by provinces and territories. The proposed changes would address concerns that some institutions are providing poor-quality programs or facilitating, knowingly or not, the entry of foreign nationals to Canada for purposes other than study.

Furthermore, to help eliminate abuse of student visas, changes are being made to ensure that the primary intent of an international student in Canada is to study. Currently, foreign nationals are able to apply to any Canadian school or business offering training in Canada and need only demonstrate an intent to study – there is currently no requirement for them to actually pursue studies once in Canada and no way of tracking whether they do.

The proposed changes respond to findings from a 2011 evaluation of the International Student Program, which concluded that gaps in the program leave it open to abuse and fraud. These changes will strengthen Canada’s position as a leader in international education.

“By improving the International Student Program, we are strengthening Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for international students,” said Kenney. “In addition to the economic impact, international student graduates are a great source of potential permanent immigrants. For those who choose to stay in Canada, their Canadian education and their language skills are important factors for success.”

Canada’s 140 public colleges and institutes are renowned for the quality of their programs and services. “International students are vital to the global experience offered on university campuses across Canada,” said Paul Davidson, president of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC). “They enrich our institutions with their cultures, languages and unique perspectives and have a positive economic impact on communities coast to coast. We support efforts to strengthen Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for students around the world.”

Posted: Jan 31, 2013

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