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CILA comments on revised requirements to better protect international students

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The Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) welcomes the Federal Government’s revised requirements aimed at enhancing the protection of international students, announced by The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, on December 7, 2023. CILA applauds Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the financial preparedness of international students for their studies for both pre-and-post-arrival in Canada.

CILA is encouraged by IRCC’s revised policies affecting international students as they align with several of our recommendations on international students. The increased cost-of-living requirement (effective January 1, 2024), adjusted for inflation, reflects CILA’s call to ensure that international students have the financial means required to study in Canada to meet the high cost of living in their intended destinations. In implementing this change, the Federal Government can better ensure international students are well-positioned to focus on their studies in Canada.

In tandem with our advocacy for international students, CILA calls for the reintroduction of the post-Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) stream (at the entry-level wage strata). This program served as a crucial stepping stone for international graduates to pursue a career in their chosen field and gain valuable full-time Canadian work experience. We are encouraged by the Government’s announcement relating to IRCC’s commitment to reviewing PGWP criteria for international graduates. CILA would like to reiterate the value of bringing back the post-PGWP LMIA stream, which could help solve industry-specific labour shortages by tapping into the talent pool of Canadian-trained graduates and offering valuable support in their journey to permanent residence status in Canada.

CILA is committed to advocating for positive changes to the International Student Program and welcomes ongoing dialogue with Global Affairs Canada and IRCC. We appreciate the Government’s commitment to addressing concerns related to ballooning enrollment at certain educational institutions and the need to address improper practices by education agents.

CILA supports strengthening the integrity of Canada’s brand as a destination for international education without the need to introduce a hard cap on the number of students admitted annually. While more work is needed to ensure international students planning to study in Canada can focus primarily on pursuing academic and vocational goals, CILA views this announcement as a positive initial step towards strengthening the international student program. We believe the Department is moving in the right direction by seeking to restore integrity to the program and by calling for all stakeholders in the education sector to be accountable for the quality of education and student experiences in Canada.

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