Canada has announced a potential halt on new study permit applications until March 31st, 2024, unless provinces swiftly enact reforms aimed at stabilizing growth and reducing the issuance of new international student permits in 2024.


The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is relying on provinces to help implement a cap of around 360,000 new study permits in 2024, but prospective students may still be able to submit cap-exempt study permit applications.

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Effective January 22, 2024, new study permit requirements have been introduced. Previously, international students only needed a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Canadian school to apply for a study permit.

Now, applicants must submit an attestation letter from a province or territory along with the LOA, confirming the student’s acceptance. Provinces have until March 31, 2024, to establish a process for issuing these attestation letters.

However, uncertainty exists regarding whether all provinces will have this system in place by the deadline, potentially causing delays in new study permit applications to IRCC.

For international students to proceed with their study permit application in Canada, they need both an LOA and an attestation letter from their school and province/territory.

Additionally, recent changes to Canada’s international student program include a nationwide two-year cap on new study permits, with provincial and territorial caps determined by population size.

This measure aims to curb unsustainable growth in specific provinces, although certain groups, such as study permit renewal applicants, current permit holders, and those pursuing specific educational levels, are exempt from this cap.

Changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program have also been introduced, with a new regulation effective September 1, 2024.

International students enrolled in curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer qualify for a PGWP upon graduation. On a positive note, graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will now be eligible for a 3-year work permit.