Regulation 220.1(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides that the holder of a study permit in Canada (a) shall enroll at a designated learning institution and remain enrolled at a designated learning institution until they complete their studies and (b) shall actively pursue their course or program of study.
Non-compliance with this requirement can, subject to certain exceptions that are beyond the scope of this post, result in a person being barred from Canada for one year.
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC“) website contains guidelines (the “Guidelines”) on interpreting these requirements.
The guidelines are divided into the following sections:
- Full-time and part-time studies
- Progress toward completion of courses
- Changing institutions or changing programs of study at the same institution
- D. Leave from studies
- E. Deferred enrollment
- F. School closures
- G. Change of status
- H. Spouses or common-law partners of full-time students (C42)
- I. Children of full-time students
- J. Working on or off campus not authorized during any leave from studies
- K. Co-op and internship placements not authorized during any leave from studies
I have reproduced or paraphrased much of the Guidelines below. At the end of this post I have summarized Federal Court of Canada jurisprudence on the matter.
A. Full-time and part-time studies
The Guidelines state that at a minimum, students must have part-time status with their institution to be considered to be actively pursuing their studies.
The definition of full-time or part-time varies depending on the educational institution.Read more ›
Generally, to be eligible for a study permit, a potential student must:
- Present a letter of acceptance from the educational institution where she intends to study. This school must be a Designated Learning Institution;
- Be able to both pay the tuition fees of the program as well as be able to financially support themselves and any accompanying financial members. Depending on the person’s country of origin, they may be required to take out a GIC with a designated Canadian bank;
- Be able to cover the cost of transportation to and from Canada;
- Pass any medical examinations;
- Possibly show proof of health insurance;
- Demonstrate that they are a bona fide student and that they will leave Canada at the end of the period authorized by their stay. .
Not every student needs a study permit. Exempt students include:
- Persons seeking to study for a short-term program (unless they wish to work on campus).
- Minor students in Canada.
Students from India and China should be aware of the possibility of them participating in the Student Partnership Program. This program allows for expedited applications for students that will be attending a school that is a member of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.
The following chart obtained through an Access to Information request shows the CIC approval rate for study permit applications based on certain countries of origin from 2009 – 2013.
When to Apply
Most people have to apply for study permits outside of Canada. There are exceptions to this, however, including those who already hold study permits,Read more ›
One of the more common reasons for a study permit application to be refused is because a visa officer determines that an applicant’s proposed program of study in Canada is unreasonable given the applicant’s background. The wording of such refusals varies, but it typically includes statements about how an individual could study in a similar program for a cheaper cost in their country of residence, or that there is no logical academic progression given their previous studies.
The following is an example of such a refusal.
Visa officers have the authority to determine whether a study permit applicant’s proposed program of study is reasonable. It is reasonable for an officer to find that an intended program does not accord with an applicant’s previous academic history. Officers can also question applicants who are abruptly changing career paths.
However, the decisions of visa officers must demonstrate that all evidence of applicants was considered. Where they do not, the decisions will be unreasonable.
For example, in Taiwo v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), Justice Shore stated that:
The Officer should not have doubted the Applicant’s explanations regarding his change of career path. The Applicant first studied in Sociology from 1995 to 2000, even though from 2004 to 2012, he has been employed as a Financial Officer and a Financial Manager. In 2012, the Applicant became the Financial Director at Tropical Spectrum BDC Ltd., a family owned business by the Applicant himself, in which he owns the majority of the shares of the company. The business is currently still running, recognizing that it is the Applicant’s wife, as stated in her sworn affidavit of financial support that she will take care of the company during the absence of her husband.Read more ›
On July 31, 2018 Canada is imposing new biometric requirements on individuals wishing to visit Canada.
Biometrics refers to the taking of fingerprints and a photograph.
Biometrics collection is being expanded to include all persons (with certain exemptions) applying for temporary or permanent residence, including all those applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, or temporary resident permit.
The Government of Canada is also introducing systematic fingerprint verification for all biometrically enrolled travellers at Canada’s major airports and expand fingerprint verification capacity at additional ports of entry.
Finally, Canada will enhance biometric information sharing between Canada and the United States and introduce biometric information sharing with other the Migration 5 partners, which are Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The change is part of a worldwide trend. More than 70 countries worldwide have implemented or are planning to implement biometrics in their immigration and border programs, including allies such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the European Union.
Who is Required to Provide Biometrics
Since 2013, citizens of 29 visa-required countries and one territory have been required to provide biometrics. Biometrics have also been collected from overseas refugee resettlement applicants since late 2014.
As of July 31, 2018, subject to certain exceptions, all persons applying for a temporary or permanent resident visa or status, work permit, study permit, temporary resident permit, or refugee protection, whether claimed inside or outside Canada, must provide biometrics.
There are numerous exceptions.
First, Americans are exempted.
Second, a person who is eligible to apply for an electronic travel authorization (an “eTA”), rather than a temporary resident visa, is not required to provide their biometrics if they are travelling to Canada as a tourist.Read more ›
Foreign nationals are required to obtain a study permit for engaging in academic, professional, vocational or other education or training that is more than six months in duration at a designated learning institution (“DLI“) in Canada.
So what does this mean, and who doesn’t need a study permit?
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (the “Act“) provides that every minor child in Canada, other than a child of a temporary resident not authorized to work or study, is authorized to study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR“) further provide that a foreign national does not need a study permit to study in the following circumstances:
(a) if they are a family member or a member of the private staff of a foreign representative who is properly accredited by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and who is in Canada to carry out official duties as a diplomatic agent, consular officer, representative or official of a country other than Canada, of the United Nations or any of its agencies or of any international organization of which Canada is a member;
(b) as a member of the armed forces of a country that is a designated state for the purposes of the Visiting Forces Act, including a person who has been designated as a civilian component of those armed forces;
(c) if the duration of their course or program of studies is six months or less and will be completed within the period for their stay authorized upon entry into Canada; or
(d) if they are an Indian.
There is alot of confusion regarding whether people can complete short-term courses in Canada without a study permit.Read more ›
On February 12, 2014, the Government of Canada stated that it had made regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (“IRPR”) which will take affect on June 1, 2014. The changes will alter Canada’s international student landscape.
The new rules are being introduced because the Government of Canada has been concerned that some educational institutions have been taking advantage of international students. (One of my biggest annoyances is meeting with international students who state that their private post-secondary schools misled them into thinking that they would be eligible for post-graduate work permits.) The government has even suspected some educational institutes are little more than “visa mills” whose primary purpose is to get students work permits. As well, there has been an increasing tendency of internationals students using study permits as a means to enter Canada for purposes other than study, including employment, and, allegedly, criminal purposes. Canada’s reputable post-secondary institutions, which have to compete for the best and brightest international students, have been unamused with how some of the unscrupulous behaviour has impacted their ability to market.
The changes are:
New regulations, as of June 1, 2014
Applicants must show that they intend to pursue studies in Canada when applying for a study permit.
Applicants must enrol in and actively pursue their course of studies in Canada. The failure of a study permit holder to do so could lead to removal from Canada. The Government of Canada has amended IRPR s. 228 so that inadmissibility reports based on international students not actively pursuing studies in Canada do not require a referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Instead, an officer can directly issue an Exclusion Order. There are several exceptions to this removal possibility, including study permit holders who possess study permits because they are the family members of foreign workers, » Read more about: Study Permit Regulations to be Overhauled June 1, 2014 »
A reader sent me a digital photograph of a sign allegedly posted at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. As the PAFSO job action continues, the implications for prospective international students is become quite serious. I can’t even guess on how post-secondary institutions are preparing and mitigating.Read more ›
The Government of Canada has introduced amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations which will restrict which schools are eligible to have international students study at them. Effective January 1, 2014, the issuance of study permits will be limited to international students attending designated learning institutions.
Currently, most provinces and territories have a mix of public educational institutions, private degree-granting institutions, and private non-degree-granting career colleges. The latter are subject to varying degrees of regulations, and private language schools are generally not regulated at all. Previously, any of these institutions could host international students on study permits. Under the new regulations, however, only students attending designated institutions can receive study permits.
Designated institutions include:
- a learning institution that is administered by a federal department or agency;
- if a province has entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, a learning institution in Canada that is designated by that province under the agreement; and
- if a province has not entered into an agreement with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in respect of learning institutions that host international students, then any of the following:
- a public post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province,
- in the case of Quebec, a private post-secondary learning institution in Quebec that operates under the same rules and regulations as public post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec,
- a private post-secondary learning institution in Canada that is recognized by the province and that is authorized by the province to confer degrees, but only in the case where the foreign national in question is enrolled in a program of study that leads to a degree as authorized by the province,
Lately, I have received numerous enquiries regarding which private post-secondary institutions are eligible to have their students receive Post-Graduate Work Permits (“PGWP“) in British Columbia. Coincidentally, on June 5, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC“), issued Operational Bulletin 262 (“OB 262“), which addresses the issue.
First, it is important to note the distinction between students enrolled in a degree program at a private post-secondary institution, and students enrolled in a diploma or certificate program. All students in Canadian private institutions which are authorized by provincial statute to confer degrees are eligible to participate in the general PGWP.
As well, there is a Pilot Project in British Columbia which provides that diploma and certificate students at certain British Columbia private post-secondary institutions are eligible to receive Post-Graduate Work Permits. The Pilot Project expires on January 31, 2013, and international students accepted into programs of study at participating institutions after August 31, 2012 are not eligible to participate in the pilot.
Students who have completed a program of study that is at least eight months or more and received a diploma or certificate in a career training program from the following institutions are eligible to apply under the Pilot Project:
- Sprott-Shaw Degree College
- Arbutus College of Communication Arts;
- Business and Technology
- Ashton College
- Canadian Tourism College
- Centre for Arts and Technology
- Eton College
- Greystone College
- John Casablancas Institute of Applied Arts
- MTI Community College
- Omni College
- Pacific Audio Visual Institute
- Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
- Pacific Rim Early Childhood Institute
- Sprott-Shaw Community College
- Stenberg College
- Universal Learning Institute
- Vancouver Central College
- Vancouver Film School
- Vancouver Institute of Media Arts
Additional requirements,Read more ›
A couple days ago I received a question regarding whether someone who is a Hong Kong national needs a medical exam to study in Canada.
Foreign students have the same medical requirements as those that apply to work or simply visit Canada.
Generally, no medical examination is required for people who intend to visit Canada for six months or less unless they intend to work in certain designated occupations.
If the duration of the student’s visit is more then six months, then a medical examination will be required if they will also work in one of the above designated occupations, or, if they have resided or stayed temporarily for six or more consecutive months in a designated country or territory in the one year immediately preceding the date that they seek entry to Canada.
In other words, it is not a country of nationality or citizenship. It is a question of where you have been. An American who spent six months volunteering in a designated country will need a medical examination.
The designated country list can be found here.
As for the Hong Kong national, assuming that he spent six months or more in Hong Kong prior to seeking entry to Canada, then the answer would be “yes, he needs a medical if his intended period of studies is six months or more.”Read more ›
Please note that none of the information on this website should be construed as being legal advice. As well, you should not rely on any of the information contained in this website when determining whether and how to apply to a given program. Canadian immigration law is constantly changing, and the information above may be dated. If you have a question about the contents of this blog, or any question about Canadian immigration law, please contact the Author.
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