Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC, formerly known as CIC) has updated the conditions for issuing a study permit to a student who is required to complete a prerequisite program before he or she begins a second program in a Designated Learning Institution (DLI).
A candidate wishing to study in Canada must first obtain a letter of acceptance to a DLI, before then applying for a study permit. In certain cases, this letter of acceptance is conditional on the candidate completing a prerequisite course, such as a language course, which he or she must successfully complete before beginning his or her main study program. Prior to this update, students in this situation received a long-term study permit covering the duration of both the prerequisite course and the main study program, plus an additional 90 days. Moreover, while study permits usually designate one DLI which the student must attend, until now these long-term study permits listed two DLIs.
In response to concerns that some students may take advantage of this extended permit to pursue employment rather than studies, IRCC has stated it will no longer issue study permits covering two different programs of study at two different DLIs. Currently, if a student does not continue to his or her second program after completing the prerequisite, he or she still holds a valid study permit which allows the holder to work for up to 20 hours a week during the semester, and full-time during holidays. The same still applies even in the event that the student does not complete the prerequisite course. According to IRCC, some immigration officers are concerned that some students are taking advantage of this situation to work in Canada without simultaneously pursuing studies, as is required to comply with the conditions of the study permit.
Since 2014, IRCC has stated that a student must actively pursue his or her studies in order to maintain valid status as a student in Canada. A student is considered to be actively pursuing his or her studies if he or she is enrolled at a DLI and making progress with the courses. In addition, a student must be enrolled full-time to be eligible to work off-campus. If an international student fails to update IRCC when he or she stops his or her program of study, IRCC may revoke the study permit. IRCC monitors compliance to this regulation by collecting information from DLIs about their students attending with study permits.
The new procedure will require international students who wish to pursue a study program in Canada after a prerequisite program to reapply for another study permit once the prerequisite course has successfully been completed.