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How to Study in Canada: Trusted Institutions Framework

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Additional information regarding IRCC’s plan to implement a “Trusted Institutions Framework” for Canadian colleges and universities in 2024 has emerged.

According to ICEF, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is considering the introduction of a two-tier system for issuing study permits to enhance the credibility of Canada’s international student program.

Colleges, universities, and other educational institutions are known as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). DLIs will benefit from expedited study permit processing for international students if they meet the criteria outlined in Framework. Canada’s provincial and territorial governments authorize DLIs to enroll international students.

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Minister of Immigration: Canada Set to Welcome Approximately 900,000 International Students this Year

Canada is a prime choice for international students, thanks to its top-tier education, cost-effectiveness, work opportunities during studies, and the pathway to Canadian immigration post-graduation.

The influx of international students in Canada has seen remarkable growth. In 2022, the IRCC welcomed an unprecedented 551,405 international students from 184 countries. Furthermore, by December 31, 2022, 807,750 international students in Canada were holding valid study permits, marking another record-breaking figure.

By comparison, in 2019, Canada hosted 637,860 international students, and a total of 400,600 new study permits were issued. This means that by the end of 2022, Canada had approximately 170,000 more international students compared to 2019.

In 2022, the top 10 source countries for new international students coming to Canada were:

  • Mexico
  • India
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Nigeria
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Philippines
  • Japan
  • Iran
  • Republic of Korea

What Is Canada’s Trusted Institutions Framework?

Details about IRCC’s proposal have been limited due to closed-door discussions, but the rationale behind the framework is clear. IRCC aims to evaluate DLIs based on criteria demonstrating their reliability in sustainable enrollment, genuine student identification, compliance monitoring, and ensuring international students’ safe and enriching experiences.

Under this proposal, DLIs must report specific data to IRCC to be considered Trusted Institutions. These indicators include:

Retention Rates: The percentage of international students in multi-year programs who continue in their original program after their first year in Canada.

On-time Program Completion Rate: The percentage of international students who complete their program within the advertised duration.

Percentage of Revenue from International Tuition: The portion of a DLI’s total tuition revenue generated from international student tuition.

Scholarships for Students from Less Developed Countries: The value and percentage of scholarships and grants awarded to international students from countries on the UN Least Developed Countries list.

Funding for International Student Support: The value of specialized support services for international students per student and as a percentage of average international student tuition. This may include services like mental health support, career counseling, and immigration guidance.

In addition, Availability of DLI-Administered Housing: The total number of international students residing in housing managed by their institution.

Lastly, Teacher-Student Ratio: The average teacher-student ratio for the 10 courses with the highest enrollment of international students.

Additional data will come from the Canadian government, including study permit approval rates, students’ countries of origin, and post-graduation outcomes such as transitioning to other visas like the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). IRCC plans to collect and analyze data from all DLIs in the coming months and establish the initial list of Trusted Institutions by spring 2024.

Canada Explores Additional Measures to Enhance Integrity of International Student Program

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, recently informed CBC that the country will welcome approximately 900,000 international students this year.

This development occurs against the backdrop of Canada grappling with a housing crisis. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Canada must construct 5.8 million new homes, including two million rental units, by 2023 to address housing affordability issues.

Furthermore, to alleviate pressure on the housing market, the federal government is contemplating limiting the number of international students coming to Canada for their studies.

In addition, the exploration of a cap on the influx of international students, in conjunction with the Trusted Institution Framework, forms part of a package of measures the federal government is considering to enhance the advantages of Canada’s international student program. While the Canadian government continues to emphasize the economic and social benefits of hosting international students, the substantial population growth in Canada has exacerbated challenges such as housing, fraud, and employment, adversely affecting international students.

Besides, Miller has refrained from committing to a rigid cap on the number of students entering Canada. He stated, “Simply imposing a hard cap is not the sole solution. Central to this is the need to determine precisely what problem we are addressing. It’s not solely a housing issue. It’s more about preserving the integrity of a system that has expanded rapidly in recent years,” noted Miller.

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