Study in Canada in 2024? The 2024 Study Permit Changes

  • Gradstar
  • February 23, 2024
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If you plan to study in Canada in 2024, you must know about the recent policy changes that will impact Study Permits this year. Starting in 2024, Canada is placing a cap on the number of Study Permits it will issue for two years. For 2024, this means a limit of approximately 360,000 Study Permits.

To understand what this means for you, whether it impacts your plans to study abroad in Canada, and how to navigate applications, keep reading!

Why Did Canada Implement the Study Permit Cap?

The main reason the Canadian government implemented the study permit gap is to check unsustainable population growth. The popularity of Canada as a study abroad destination continues to climb every year. Unfortunately, Canada’s resources, including housing and healthcare, are struggling to keep up.

Study Permit grants will decrease by 35% this year as a result, as the government works on better accommodating its incoming international students. But if you are planning to study in Canada, how does this impact your goals? Study abroad consultants online break down the key points to note.

Who Does the Study Permit Cap Impact and How?

The Study Permit cap mainly impacts applicants at the undergraduate level. If you are a prospective postgraduate student applying for a master’s or postdoctoral degree, good news – the cap does not include you.

Moreover, the distribution of Study Permit grant limits will vary from province to province and territory to territory. Provinces and territories seeing the most unsustainable population growth will grant fewer Study Permits. This means that it’s worth your while to look into the excellent higher education options Canada offers in the provinces and territories traditionally seeing fewer incoming international students.

Now that we understand the implications of the Study Permit cap, lets look into the technicalities of the Canada student visa up close.

Applying for the Study Permit in Canada

To study in Canada, you will need a Study Permit, a document you need to hold on to throughout your time as an international student. It validates your status as a student in Canada, with the right to stay, study, and work student hours per the conditions of the permit. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada issues this permit.

To qualify for a Study Permit, you must have:

• Proof of identity

• Letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institute (DLI) – a Canadian university with legal authorization to enroll international students

• A minimum of CAN $20,635 in liquid assets, in addition to tuition and living costs for your first year

• Proof of finances

• A letter of explanation

• Proof of English proficiency

• Medical exam reports

• Police clearance certificates

• Biometrics (which you will provide at a visa application center)

• A provincial attestation letter, starting from 2024

The provincial attestation letter is a new requirement starting from this year, as part of the Study Permit updates. If you are applying for the Study Permit in 2024, you will need to provide an attestation letter from the province or territory your university is in as part of the application. Note that this does not apply to master’s and doctoral student applicants!

As of the time of writing, Canadian provinces and territories are developing the framework for issuing attestation letters. The deadline for finalizing this is March 31, 2024. Keep a close eye on your university website, the IRCC Study Permit pages, or connect with your study abroad consultants online to stay up to date.

Breaking Down the Study Permit Policy Chances in Detail

These are the significant changes that the IRCC rolled out this year in Study Permit policy:

Cap on International Study Permits

The pressure on Canadian infrastructure is growing from an increasing number of students. To promote more sustainable growth, the IRCC implemented a cap on Study Permits for 2024 and 2025. In 2024, this means that there will be approximately 360,000 Study Permit approvals. Note that this cap does not impact postgraduate applicants – i.e., master’s and doctoral students.

Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)

Applications for the student visa in Canada must include a provincial attestation letter (PAL) starting 2024. As of the time of writing, Canadian provinces and territories are developing the procedure for issuing attestation letters. Again, note that applicants for master’s and doctoral programs don’t need attestation letters to apply for Study Permits!

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

As of 2024, Master’s degree holders can enjoy a three-year PGWP extension! Before this year, the validity of the permit depended on the length of the program. Starting this year, however, the PGWP will have a three-year validity for Master’s programs. The program in question must be at least 8 months long, with a scheduled semester break.

Private College to Public College Partnership Program (PPP)

Students who are enrolling in a program under a curriculum licensing arrangement at a private college will no longer be eligible for a PGWP. Under these agreements, students enroll in a private college with the license to deliver a public college’s curriculum. If you plan to study in Canada in 2024 or beyond, note that your PGWP eligibility will be void if you enroll in a program like this.

Spousal Work Visas

Starting this year, only the spouses of applicants to master’s and doctoral programs will be eligible for open work permits. Spouses of applicants to any other study level are no longer eligible for these.

How Do These Policies Compare?

The differences between Study Permit policies before and after the 2024 cap are as follows:

Sector Before New Policy Starting 2024
Study Permit Approvals 980,000 foreign students received study permits to enter Canada in 2023 The IRCC will only grant around 360,000 permits in 2024, a 35% reduction from the year before
Letter of Provincial Attestation (PAL) International applicants who submitted their Study Permit applications before January 22, 2024, 8:30 am ET do not need to include the PAL in their application Applications after 8:30 AM ET on January 22, 2024, must include a provincial attestation letter (PAL). Master’s and doctoral applicants do not need a PAL to apply
Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Validity The study period determines how long the PGWP will be valid Graduates of Master’s degree programs which are at least 8 months long will be eligible for 3-year PGWPs
Partnership Program: Private College to Public College (PPP) In many jurisdictions, public colleges have the option to license their curricula to affiliated private universities. Graduates of these programs were eligible for PGWP before 2024 Graduates of programs under a curriculum licensing agreement will no longer be eligible for PGWP
Employment permits for spouses Spouses of students enrolling in full-time study with a valid Study Permit are eligible for open work permits Only the spouses of Master’s and doctoral program students will be eligible for open work permits

Rounding Up

With the 2024 policy changes in Study Permit provisions, you need to understand how these will impact you if you are planning to study in Canada. These policy changes do not impact you if you are planning to study in Canada for a Master’s or postdoctoral program. Another factor to keep in mind is that the Study Cap limits will vary from province to province and territory to territory. To explore your options and your prospects to study abroad in Canada, Breaking Down the Study Permit Policy Chances in Detail online or offline!