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International Student Program Reforms

Get in-depth information about how PALs and Cap on international students is affecting students in 2024.

Ontario’s cap implementation plan allocates nearly all study permit applications to public colleges and universities

Last year, Ontario hosted slightly over half of all international students in Canada.

  • Under Canada’s recent cap on international study permits, Ontario has been granted 235,000 study permit applications for 2024.
  • The province has disclosed that 96% of these applications will be earmarked for public colleges and universities, with the remaining 4% allocated to language schools and private universities within the province.
  • Notably, career colleges will not receive any study permit applications under this arrangement.

Applications will be assigned to institutions according to the following criteria:

  1. Priority will be given to programs in high-demand areas, such as skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality, and child care.

  2. The allocation cannot surpass the institution’s permit levels from 2023.

  3. As a final safeguard, the ratio of international permits, excluding those in high-demand areas, cannot surpass 55 percent of the institution’s first-year domestic enrollment from 2023.

British Columbia releases details of new Provincial Attestation Letter system under Canada’s international student cap

Key Points:

The BC Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills has confirmed that the province has been allocated 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications for 2024. This contrasts with the 97,000 study permit applications submitted by students intending to study in BC in 2023.

Furthermore, as of March 4, 2024, the Province has commenced issuing the new Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs), which are now mandatory for all provinces and territories under Canada’s international student cap. BC becomes the third Canadian province or territory, following Quebec and Alberta, to initiate the issuance of PALs. This effectively signifies the resumption of study permit processing for students intending to pursue undergraduate, college, and language studies in BC.

The distribution for the provincial attestation letters will be 53% for public post-secondary institutions and 47% for private institutions. The distribution is based on supporting public post-secondary institutions to maintain their international student programs while managing growth for this year and for future years. These numbers are based on the federal allotment of attestation letters, they do not represent approved study permits.

Some applicants are exempt from the requirement, including:

  • primary and secondary school students;
  • master’s or doctoral degree students;
  • students already in Canada with a valid study permit or in-Canada work permit holders and their in-Canada family members;
  • students already in Canada applying for an extension; and
  • students whose application was received before 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) on Jan. 22, 2024.

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