Subsection 30(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that a foreign national may not study in Canada unless authorized to do so under the Act. An exception is made in subsection 30(2) for minor children in Canada are authorized to study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level without a student permit, with the exception of the children of temporary residents who are not authorized to work or study in Canada. Regulation-making authority to provide for any matter relating to the application of section 30 and to define terms and prescribe conditions respecting study in Canada by classes of temporary residents is contained in section 32.
Part 11 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRP Regulations) establishes the parameters governing study permits. The Regulations authorize foreign nationals to study without a student permit if the course or study program lasts six months or less. They allow officers to refuse permit applications from students who previously studied in Canada without a permit or who failed to comply with the conditions imposed when they entered Canada.
Purpose of these provisions
The purpose of the provisions is to prescribe which foreign nationals may be issued a study permit.
What the regulations do
The provisions specify:
- who can be authorized to study in Canada without a permit;
- who can be authorized to study in Canada with a permit;
- who can apply for a permit in Canada, whether at the time of entry or after having obtained authorization to enter and remain in Canada;
- which are the mandatory requirements a course must meet to qualify a foreign national to receive a study permit; and
- which are the requirements foreign nationals must meet when applying for a study permit.
What has changed
The Regulations make foreign students a prescribed class of persons who may obtain temporary resident status and who have been issued study permits. Hence, foreign students have the same obligations as temporary residents.
Because access to education is a fundamental principle, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act provides that minor children in Canada may study at the pre-school, primary or secondary level, with the exception of the minor children of temporary residents who are not authorized to work or study. These Regulations apply in particular to children of refugee claimants.
Any temporary resident may now study in Canada without a permit if the course or study program lasts for six months or less.
The Regulations state that students may obtain a study permit before applying for authorization to enter Canada. This will allow them to apply later, in Canada, for an extension or for changes to the conditions imposed when they entered in order to pursue studies over a longer period of time.
The new provisions allow officers to refuse to issue or renew study permits for foreign nationals who previously studied without a permit or who failed to comply with the conditions imposed when they entered the country, unless 6 months has passed since their infringement.
The purpose of allowing minor children to study without a study permit is to facilitate access to education for all minor children in Canada by reducing the administrative procedures. After presenting documentation indicating the purpose of the stay, other than tourism, the provincial authorities and educational institutions may be contacted in order to register the child.
Allowing foreign nationals to take courses or study programs in Canada of 6 months or less without study permits facilitates the recruitment of foreign students for short periods of study in Canada while eliminating additional administrative procedures. This helps educational institutions to compete with other countries and increase their share of the market of international students.
In addition to increasing our share of the market, this generates significant economic benefits for Canada, since each foreign student spends at least of $30,000 per year on tuition fees and living expenses.
Authorizing officers to refuse study permit applications from foreign nationals who have failed to comply with the Act, unless 6 months have passed since their last infringement, enhances program integrity. These provisions encourage foreign nationals to respect their obligations.
Finally, establishing criteria in the Regulations that make it possible to identify the educational institutions for which study permits may be issued, helps ensure consistent application and makes it possible to consider newly created educational institutions using the same parameters.
Compliance and Enforcement
Foreign nationals who do not meet the requirements for a study permit will not be issued one. Foreign nationals who obtain this permit and do not comply with the obligations of a temporary resident and the imposed conditions may be reported as inadmissible under subsection 44(1) of the Act and, as a result, have a removal order made against them.