Officials from Canada’s National Association of Career Colleges are concerned over the introduction of new regulations surrounding student visas.
NACC chief executive Serge Buy is uneasy about sending recruitment teams abroad these days because of the lack of clarity on the part of the federal government in terms of new regulations. Buy says that it remains unclear which colleges will and will not be able to bring international students into the country.
The new regulations were announced late last year and are part of a wider government “crackdown” on immigration fraud. Once the changes take effect, which is not expected to occur before January 2014, student visas will only be issued to a pre-designated list of schools and will require verification that the international student is actually registered in a program and attending classes. Furthermore, programs of less than 6 months duration will not qualify.
One major caveat to the new legislation is that it will require cooperation on the part of provincial governments with educational institutions. Provincial governments will be the ones to compile and submit the list of “eligible” schools, but should they drop the ball it will be up to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to decide which schools and programs do and do not qualify.
Furthermore, thus far there has been no mention of career colleges at the federal level says Buy. An official with CIC confirmed that if the provincial governments provide no information, the federal government lacks the access and resources it would need to assess colleges in the private sector, which includes many career colleges.
Officials in Alberta and Saskatchewan say they are already working on compiling their own lists, but Ontario, where about 40 percent of Canada’s career college students are located, is still vague about whether it will be able to produce a list – which could prove difficult particularly in the midst of its struggle to elect a new government.
Approximately 3,000 international students are currently studying at Canadian career colleges, says Buy. Last year Canada issued approximately 98,000 student visas.