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British Columbia has introduced the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) system.



Effective March 4, 2024, British Columbia has implemented the Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) system for international students applying for study permits.



Requirements for International Students

  • International students are required to include a PAL, obtained from their Designated Learning Institution (DLI), with their study permit application.



Allocation and Impact

  • British Columbia has received an allocation of 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications for 2024 from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

  • This allocation is expected to result in approximately 50,000 approved study permit applications, reflecting a decrease from the previous year.

  • PALs will be distributed between public and private post-secondary institutions, with a notable reduction in permits for private institutions to address unsustainable growth.


IRCC's Study Permit Cap and Changes to Eligibility Criteria

  • IRCC has capped new study permits at 360,000 for 2024, representing a 35% reduction from 2023 levels.

  • The cap is based on provincial populations and aims to manage the influx of international students.

  • Changes to eligibility criteria for Post Graduation Work Permits (PGWPs) and Spousal Open Work Permits (SOWP) are forthcoming.


Response to Concerns Raised by Immigration Minister

  • Immigration Minister Marc Miller expressed concerns about the sustainability of Canada's international student program, citing issues such as housing shortages and inadequate support.

  • Measures such as the PAL system and permit caps aim to address these concerns.


British Columbia's Additional Measures

  • British Columbia has implemented its own measures, including a pause on approving new post-secondary institutions enrolling international students until 2026.

  • Standards for degree programs and language requirements have been raised to ensure a better student experience.


Conclusion

  • The introduction of the PAL system and other measures reflects efforts to manage and improve the international student program in British Columbia and Canada as a whole.

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