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Canada announces changes in International Students Program to prevent fraud

Canada on Friday announced plans to implement measures to strengthen the country’s International Student Program and at better protecting genuine students from cases of fraud.

The announcement was made by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“Canada is a top destination of choice for international students, thanks to our high-quality educational institutions; our welcoming, diverse society; and the opportunities to work or immigrate permanently after graduation.

“While international students have contributed to life on campuses across the country, they have also experienced some serious challenges navigating Canada’s International Student Program,” the statement by the Canadian Ministry stated.

According to the new measures, from December 1, 2023, onwards, post-secondary designated learning institutions (DLI) will be required to confirm every applicant’s letter of acceptance directly with IRCC.

This new, enhanced verification process aims to protect prospective students from letter-of-acceptance fraud and to help them avoid similar problems that some students faced earlier this year as a result of fraud investigations.

It will also ensure that study permits are issued based only on genuine letters of acceptance, the statement read.

In time for the fall 2024 semester, IRCC will adopt a “recognised institution” framework to benefit post-secondary DLIs that set a higher standard for services, support and outcomes for international students.

These DLIs will benefit, for example, from the priority processing of study permits for applicants who plan to attend their school.

In the coming months, IRCC will complete an assessment of Post-Graduation Work Permit Program criteria and begin introducing reforms to better calibrate it to meet the needs of the Canadian labour market, as well as regional and Francophone immigration goals, the statement added.

Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller said that the government aims to improve Canada’s International Student Program by protecting students and weeding out those who try to take advantage of them.

“International students are talented, bright and deserving of a positive experience as they pursue their studies in Canada. We will continue to improve Canada’s International Student Program by protecting students and weeding out those who try to take advantage of them.

“Whether an international student stays and works after graduation or returns home, we want their time as a student in Canada to have been beneficial to their growth and aspirations,” he said.

Notably, international education accounts for more than $22-billion in economic activity annually, greater than Canada’s exports of auto parts, lumber or aircraft, and supports more than 200,000 jobs in Canada, the Canadian Ministry stated.

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