Canada’s immigration department has moved to close a loophole that allowed international students to work here without completing a required language or other prerequisite class.
Students who need to complete such a class before starting college or university will now need two separate visas.
An initial visa will be awarded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the duration of the prerequisite class.
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Once the class has been completed and the required standard achieve, a further visa will be awarded for the student’s chosen course.
Previously a single visa was awarded covering the total duration of both courses.
The change has been made following concerns students who failed to complete the prerequisite class still possessed a visa allowing them to work in Canada.
Issuing the single visa also posed a paperwork problem, as the prerequisite class and chosen course were often not provided by the same education provider.
“A concern has been raised by officers that the student may not successfully complete their prerequisite program, but will continue to hold a valid study permit allowing them to work,” an IRCC statement said.
The statement added: “Once the prerequisite program has been completed, the student can apply for a new study permit and demonstrate that the requirements of the first program have been met.”
The Canadian government is planning to make it easier for international students to remain in the country and begin their careers after graduation.
Completing a post-secondary degree in Canada is expected to be given more weight under the Express Entry system, through which candidates are invited to apply for permanent residency.
Currently, international students will most likely have to return to their original countries following graduation.
“International students are at the top of the government’s list to become permanent residents because they are young, educated, and fluent in English or French,” Immigration Minister John McCallum said at a recent round table discussion in Peel, Ontario.
A recent Statistics Canada study show that the children of immigrants outperform their Canadian-born peers at both high school and university.
It is one of a number of pieces of evidence showing the secondary benefits of welcoming more immigrants into the country.
The Liberal government has a target of bringing in 300,000 immigrants in 2016, making it one of the most prolific years for immigration in recent history.
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