Canada is planning to revamp its student visa program

by Rajneesh Kumar Published on 28/Aug/2023

Canada is all set to revamp its student visa program by introducing the 'Trusted Institution' tag, part of a broader effort to modernize the International Student Program (ISP) overseen by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). This fresh framework is set to be assimilated into the student visa process in 2024.

The major concept underlying this initiative involves assessing postsecondary institutions based on specific benchmarks that underscore their dependability as collaborative partners across domains such as sustainable intake management, verification of genuine students, adherence to compliance standards, and thorough reporting. While the exact details are currently limited in scope, this novel approach aims to enhance the quality of the international student experience.

Within this framework, institutions that fulfil the stipulated criteria will attain the distinction of being Trusted Institutions. This designation potentially brings forth advantages such as expedited and streamlined application processing for their prospective students. However, the complete extent of the implications tied to this recognition is yet to be fully elucidated.

Currently, Canadian institutions admitting international students must qualify as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs), receiving approval from their respective provincial or territorial government. As part of their application for a Canadian study permit, international students necessitate an acceptance letter from a DLI.

The proposed Trusted Institution framework will lead to the creation of a dual-tier structure among Canada's DLIs, with certain institutions attaining Trusted Institution status while others remain outside this category.

The genesis of the Trusted Institution framework traces back to June 2023 when the IRCC introduced this concept to select key stakeholders, subsequent to the Strategic Immigration Review. The goal was to address concerns including the vulnerabilities faced by international students, the surge in application numbers, and the quest for greater diversity within the international student community.

The Trusted Institution framework will leverage two primary categories of data. Some data points will be sourced from IRCC records and other Government of Canada repositories, encompassing aspects such as study permit approval rates, countries of origin, and post-graduation outcomes like transitions to post-graduate work permits or other IRCC programs.

Additionally, DLIs will be required to actively participate in a new reporting mechanism, necessitating the disclosure of supplementary information to the IRCC. This reporting will encompass metrics such as the proportion of revenue generated from international student tuition fees, financial allocations by institutions for services aiding international students, availability of institution-managed accommodations, faculty-to-student ratios, and rates of international student retention.

After a town hall event in August 2023 attended by select Canadian institutions, the IRCC intends to refine its data collection survey, making it accessible to all DLIs in the fall of 2023. Subsequently, data will be compiled and analysed throughout the spring of 2024 to establish the initial Trusted Institution designations.

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