In the latest move, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has initiated measures that place increased scrutiny on international student Acceptance Letters. The development introduces an online verification portal exclusively designed for Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), the authorized entities to admit international students.
New Online Verification Portal for International Student Acceptance Letters
Under this revamped framework, DLIs are mandated to validate LOAs submitted by students through the newly launched online portal. This streamlined process, accessible only to DLI representatives, requires schools to complete verification within 10 calendar days.
Failure to comply within the stipulated time or confirming the LOA as counterfeit will result in the cancellation of the student visa application, with accompanying fees refunded to the applicant.
IRCC’s Measures Post Previous International Student Scams
These stringent measures come in response to past abuses in the international student system, including a high-profile case involving 700 Indian students deceived by false acceptance letters. This conduct by a fraudulent immigration consultant nearly led to the deportation of unwitting students. The new verification system aims to prevent such fraudulent activities and safeguard the credibility of the international student program.
The Trusted Institutions Framework
Parallelly, IRCC introduces the “Trusted Institutions Framework,” a novel approach for DLIs featuring a two-tiered system for study permit issuance. This framework, set to be implemented in the fall of 2024, grants trusted institutions certain privileges, including expedited study permit processing. While specifics are yet to be fully disclosed, this framework underscores IRCC’s commitment to enhancing the quality and efficiency of the international student program.
A Glimpse into 2024
Anticipating a transformative year, IRCC outlines significant changes scheduled for 2024:
- Cost-of-Living Increase: An additional CAD 10,000 requirement for students.
- Work Cap Re-evaluation: The reconsideration of the 20-hour work cap for international students.
- PGWP Changes: Ending the facilitative measure allowing students to count time spent abroad towards their Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
- Labor Market Connection: A more direct link between international student enrollment, PGWP issuance, and labor market needs.
Navigating 2024 presents new challenges and opportunities for Canada’s international student program. IRCC’s commitment to ensuring program integrity remains unwavering, and potential limitations on student visas are being considered to ensure adequate support from DLIs.
Guarding Against Fraud: A Student’s Shield
Amid these changes, international students must remain vigilant against fraudulent schemes. From “ghost consultants” to phishing attempts and housing fraud, awareness is key. Prospective students should exercise diligence in sharing personal information, disregard dubious communications seeking financial details, and verify the licensure of immigration consultants or agencies before engaging in their services.
IRCC’s introduction of online verification of Acceptance letters aims not only to enhance program integrity but also to provide a secure and enriching academic experience for international students.