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IRCC accelerates post-grad work changes

In Canada, IRCC has put an end to the plans of public-private partnerships with summer intakes who have set out to enrol as many students as possible before the PGWP eligibility is taken away.

IRCC's date change is intended to discourage colleges from modifying fall semester start dates. Photo: Unsplash

The change was originally due to take effect on September 1 2024

On January 22, IRCC confirmed that international graduates of college programs delivered through a public-private curriculum licensing arrangement would no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

The change was due to take effect on September 1, but IRCC announced this month the date will be brought forward to May 15, meaning that international students who begin this type of program beyond that date will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit upon graduation.

“Changes made to the coming-into-force date are intended to discourage colleges from modifying fall semester start dates and to have a more immediate impact,” a spokesperson for IRCC told The PIE.

It is thought that some institutions impacted by the change moved their fall admission to June or August to avoid the changes.

Ontario is the province most negatively impacted by the changes to post-study work opportunities as in early 2023, there were at least 14 colleges in the province that had partnered with private companies.

Since the announcement, IRCC has highlighted in its communications that the change in post-graduation work permit criteria does not prevent a graduate of one of these programs from applying for a different type of work permit upon graduation.

“For occupations that face a labour shortage in Canada, a graduate could apply for a work permit supported by an employer’s approved labour market impact assessment, for example,” it continued.

“IRCC will continue to work with provinces and territories to proactively identify programs that have been affected by the clarification,” it said in a statement.

International student policy hawk and owner of Study2Stay Earl Blaney shared his thoughts with The PIE.

“IRCC concerns about the suitability of Public College-private partnership programs for international students have been wide ranging from poor student support, quality of education and of course housing availability in the Greater Toronto Area where many of these campuses are located,” said Blaney.

IRCC’s initial announcement in January 2024 sought to reduce interest in these programs

“IRCC’s initial announcement in January 2024 sought to reduce interest in these programs, by eliminating PGWP eligibility.

“Federal jurisdiction cannot easily prohibit PCPP’s from altogether receiving international students, which falls more under provincial jurisdiction.”

Blaney said it’s important to note that IRCC’s moves to deflate student interest in a September intake was done for reasons “specifically related to consumer protection”.

“Public colleges then began facilitating changes to start dates to circumvent this. It is easy to argue that this is a clear-cut example of public colleges seeking to prioritise revenue over consumer best interests.”

In Blaney’s view, this is a “good indication” that the federal government’s decision was a “very wise decision indeed”.

Other stakeholders, including CiCan, declined to comment.

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