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Canada issued nearly 600,000 study permits in 2023. In recent times, Canada has witnessed significant changes to its immigration policies, particularly those concerning international students. Spearheaded by Marc Miller, Immigration and Refugee Citizenship Canada on January 22nd 2024, has implemented three principal measures that have sparked fears, anxieties, and uncertainties among students, especially those from Nigeria. We will delve into these updates and shed light on how they may impact Nigerian students. Read more here.

Before delving into the specifics of the changes, it is crucial to acknowledge that Canada’s commitment to providing quality education is at the core of these policy adjustments. The surge in student numbers and their spouses has strained social amenities, leading to increased housing costs and challenges in delivering quality education. These changes are not racially motivated but are a response to the misuse of educational institutions to generate income.

As of February 3rd 2024, here is what we know about the Policy Changes in Canada Study Permit:

1. Cap on Study Permits:

   – A temporary two-year cap on new study permits has been introduced, a 35% decrease in approved study permits in 2024.

   – Canada will issue an average of 360,000 study permits, a reduction from the over 900,000 approved visas in 2023.

   – The study permit applications for 2024 will be allocated to provinces and territories based on a national volume cap, while provinces like Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia have more significant reductions.

   – Exemptions include students in master’s and Ph.D. programs, elementary and secondary school levels, and applicants extending their study permits within Canada.

2. Requirement of Attestation Letter for Study Permit Application:

   – Effective January 22nd 2024, applicants must provide a provincial attestation letter with their study permit application. Students without this letter would not be eligible for study permits.

   – Exemptions include students in master’s and Ph.D. programs, elementary and secondary school levels, and applicants extending their studies within Canada.

   – Provinces to establish procedures for sending these letters by March 31st 2024.

3. Changes in Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) and Open Work Permit for Spouses:

   – Starting September 1st 2024, PGWP will no longer be available to international students in programs delivered via public-private partnerships.

   – Graduates from colleges partnering with private companies will no longer qualify for PGWP.

   – Open work permits will only be available to spouses of students in master’s, doctoral, and professional programs like Medicine and Law.

   – Post-study work rights for graduate students will be expanded, allowing graduates to apply for a three-year work permit. In other words, if your program lasts two years, you may be eligible for a three-year PGWP.

Other Changes that affect study visa application in 2024

1. Increased Work Hours For Students:

Historically, international students faced restrictions, with a maximum of 20 working hours per week during regular school semesters and 40 hours per week during breaks such as summer vacation. As a temporary solution introduced in the fall of 2022, international students worked unlimited hours while classes were in session, initially scheduled to conclude in December 2023.

Encouraging news for students emerges as the extension of the increased work hours measure is now in effect until April 30th, 2024, offering more opportunities for earning income and gaining valuable work experience in Canada. Although there is speculation about permanently increasing the weekly working hours limit, there is no official announcement yet.

2. Increased Financial Requirements:

As part of the study permit application, international students must demonstrate financial support to cover living expenses in Canada during their studies. Previously, the minimum proof of financial support required (in addition to travel and tuition costs) was C$10,000 per year.

Due to Canada’s increasing cost of living, the minimum financial support requirement is C$20,635. Starting January 1st, 2024, all new study permit applications must meet these updated financial proof requirements.

Nigerian students must remain updated and adapt to the ever-changing landscape. Considering alternative provinces and understanding the attestation letter requirements are crucial to achieving this. Hopefully, updates and structures will be in place to streamline application processes and ensure a smoother transition for international students despite potential challenges. Even though it might be challenging, we hope things will get easier with more updates in the coming months. 

If you need personalized guidance navigating the Canada Study Permit application, please get in touch here.

Stay informed, and good luck!

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