Canada Sets Two-Year Cap on Foreign Students Canada is implementing a new policy that will cap the length of time international students can stay in the country after completing their studies. The new regulation, which will come into effect on November 20, 2022, limits the post-graduation work permit (PGWP) to a maximum of two years for most foreign students. Previously, international students who completed a program of study in Canada that lasted at least eight months were eligible for a PGWP valid for up to three years. This allowed them to gain valuable Canadian work experience and potentially apply for permanent residency. The government believes that the two-year cap will address concerns of international students using the PGWP as a pathway to immigration without having the intention to continue working in Canada. The new rules are meant to strike a balance between attracting international students and ensuring the program is not being misused. According to Canada's Immigration Minister, Marco Mendicino, the current system is "a bit of a mess" and needs to be reined in. The two-year cap will provide clarity and consistency to the rules. However, there are exceptions to the cap. Students enrolled in programs at designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Quebec, as well as students pursuing a study program that requires a longer period of work experience or internship, may still be eligible for a PGWP of longer than two years. The new regulation is expected to have a significant impact on international students considering studying in Canada. The possibility of gaining Canadian work experience and eventually becoming eligible for permanent residency was a key draw for many students. With the reduced time frame, international students will need to be more strategic in making the most out of their Canadian education and work opportunities. It is worth noting that the duration of the PGWP is crucial for international students as it determines their eligibility for the Express Entry program, which is Canada's main pathway for economic immigration. The program awards points based on various factors, including education, work experience, age, and language proficiency. The longer the work experience gained through the PGWP, the more points a candidate can earn and increase their chances of being invited to apply for permanent residency. The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected international students' plans and the Canadian government's approach to immigration. Travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and online learning have all impacted the international student experience. As a result, the new policy aims to strike a balance between adapting to the current circumstances and ensuring Canada remains an attractive destination for international students. Canada has been known for its welcoming stance toward international students, with its post-secondary institutions often ranked among the best in the world. The country has seen a significant increase in the number of international students in recent years, contributing both economically and culturally to Canadian society. While the two-year cap on the PGWP may pose challenges for international students, it is important to recognize that Canada still offers opportunities for those seeking to study and work in the country. The government continues to prioritize immigration and aims to create pathways for international students to settle permanently in Canada. As Canada adjusts its policies, prospective international students should stay informed about the latest updates and evaluate their options carefully. Consulting with immigration professionals or representatives from Canadian educational institutions can provide valuable guidance and support in navigating the changing landscape. Overall, while the two-year cap on the PGWP may present some limitations, Canada remains an attractive destination for international students, offering high-quality education and diverse learning opportunities. The new policy reflects the government's commitment to ensuring the integrity of the immigration system while maintaining the country's appeal as a destination for international students.
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