Update on international student visa policies

The Government of Canada has announced a temporary two-year cap on foreign enrolment, leading to a decrease in approved study permits this coming academic year. 

Under this new measure, 364,000 undergraduate study permits will be approved for 2024 across Canada — a 35 per cent reduction from 2023. The government will assess how many permits will be approved for 2025 at the end of this year. 

Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced the cap on January 22, 2024, along with other measures. In addition to the cap, international students applying for a permit must provide an attestation letter from the province. The government also made changes to the post-graduate work permit (PGWP) program. 

At George Brown College, we are proud to have a vibrant learning community for all students, and our international students are a special part of this community. We are committed to supporting all our students and ensuring their success 

"I want to express our heartfelt appreciation to all our students, including our international students, here at George Brown College. Your presence enriches our community in countless ways, and we are truly grateful for the diverse perspectives and talents you bring," said George Brown College President Dr. Gervan Fearon. "Your academic and career achievements are a vital part of our college's success, and we are committed to fostering an environment where you can thrive and feel supported." 

We are actively working to understand the potential effects of these changes. Once we can assess the implications of this announcement, we will provide more information. We are here for our student community every step of the way, with supports and services.  

FAQ

FAQ last updated: February 12, 2024

How does this announcement impact current students? 

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has stated that the current caps will not impact current study permit holders or study permit renewals (extensions). 

How does this announcement impact the spouses of current students?  

IRCC has said that in the coming weeks, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master's and doctoral programs. The spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible. The impact on the spouses of Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holders remains uncertain and requires further clarification from IRCC. 

How do these changes impact post-graduate work permit (PGWP) eligibility? 
  1. As of September 1, 2024, the PGWP will no longer be available for public/private institution partnership models that are part of a curriculum licensing arrangement. George Brown College does not have this partnership model.
  2. Starting on February 15, 2024, a longer, 3-year post-graduation work permit will be available to those who are graduating from a master’s degree program that is less than 2 years and who meet all other PGWP eligibility criteria. George Brown College does not offer master’s programs. 
  3. The length of PGWPs for programs other than master’s degrees will continue to align with the length of the study program, to a maximum of 3 years.  
Can an applicant who has been accepted at a public-private partnership college apply to GBC?

Yes, GBC is accepting applications for May and September. Please visit Future International Students for information on program availability and how to apply. You can connect directly with one of our Recruitment representatives to discuss program options and how to apply on our Contact page.

What will GBC's allocation be?

This information is not yet available.


Attestation letters

Do initial study permit applicants need to provide a provincial attestation letter from January 22 onwards? 

As of 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024, most new post-secondary international students at the college or undergraduate level must provide a provincial attestation letter (PAL) from a province or territory with their study permit application. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will return any application received that does not include a PAL, unless otherwise exempt (see below for the applications that need an attestation letter and those that are exempt).

Who needs an attestation letter?
  • most post-secondary study permit applicants 
  • most non-degree granting graduate programs (for example, certificate programs and graduate diplomas) 
  • anyone else not included in the exception list below 
Who doesn't need an attestation letter?
  • primary and secondary school students 
  • master’s or doctoral degree students 
  • visiting or exchange students 
  • in-Canada study permit and work permit holders (includes study permit holders applying for an extension) 
  • in-Canada family members of study permit or work permit holders 
  • students whose applications we received before 8:30 a.m. ET on January 22, 2024 
What is an attestation letter?

An attestation letter is a supporting document from the province or territory where the student plans to study that is now a required document for an initial study permit application. Each province or territory is developing a process for applicants to get an attestation letter. These processes are expected to be in place by March 31, 2024. IRCC will return any application received on or after January 22, 2024, without an attestation letter, unless you’re exempt. More information can be found on the IRCC website.

Do current students need an attestation letter to extend their study permit? 

No, students applying to extend their study permit are exempt from needing an attestation letter. More information can be found on the IRCC website

What will the process of applying for an attestation letter be? 

This information is not yet available. Provinces have until March 31, 2024, to determine the process.