Overview of the new study permit rules

2014-09-30

bookswoman studyingThousands of foreign students enter Canada every year to study at one of hundreds of colleges or universities.

It’s a smart move.  Not only do you get to experience Canadian culture, but it can set you up for a post-graduation work visa, and eventually permanent residence in Canada.

Even if permanent residence is not your current goal, after studying here, you may wish to stay indefinitely.

However, the student permit rules have changed recently and I’ve summarized the key aspects below.

Note that a study permit is only required for a program over 6 months in length.  However, it’s a good idea to get  a study permit no matter the length of the program, in case you want to continue studying while you’re here beyond the six month period.

You have to study while you’re here

Previously, you could get a study permit but not necessarily follow through with your study plan.

No longer.

Now, you have to remain enrolled in your school and make reasonable progress towards completing your study program.  CIC will get information on your status from your educational institution, so they will know what you are up to.

If you don’t remain enrolled (and progress – very important – you can’t linger in a program), you might be removed from Canada.  Not good.  So if you come here to study, do just that.

You can only attend certain educational institutions

CIC rules on which institutions you could – and could not – attend have changed over the years.

Now, you must only attend a designated learning institution.  Note that this applies only to post-secondary education.  Elementary and high schools are all acceptable.

You’ll need the number of you college or university in order to apply – you’ll find in the link in the previous paragraph.

You have to pay your way and be healthy

This rule hasn’t changed: you have to show you (or your parents) have enough money to cover tuition fees, living expenses while you’re here, and travel expenses to get back to your country of origin.

If you’re from certain countries (or you’ve lived or traveled in certain countries) for 6 months or more, you might need a medical as well.  Click here for the list of countries where a medical might be needed.

You can now work off campus

This is a big change.  You can work off campus without a work permit for 20 hours per week during classes, and full-time when school breaks.  If you’re studying English (or French) as a second language, then you won’t be able to work off campus.  You would need a work permit in order to work in Canada.

You can work in a co-op / internship program

Co-op or internship programs are fine, so long as they are an essential part of your training program.  However, you do need a co-op work permit (apart from your study permit) to participate.

Studying English (or French) as a second language won’t let you work in a co-op or internship.

You might be able to apply for a study permit from within Canada

Certain individuals can apply for a work permit from within Canada, including:

  • Minor children studying at an elementary, middle or high school
  • Exchange students and some visiting students
  • Students who completed a short course that is a condition for acceptance at a designated learning institution

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About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

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