New Canadian Study Permit Rules to Impact Gujarati Students

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New Canadian Study Permit Rules to Impact Gujarati Students

| Updated: March 25, 2024 15:08

A new requirement has been introduced that could cause concern among Gujarati students aspiring for foreign studies in Canada. From September onwards, students will need to obtain a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the province they intend to study and work in, in addition to their admission letter from the university or institute.

The rules, which are likely to be finalized by various Canadian provinces by March 31, have already been announced by several provinces including British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. For instance, British Columbia is expected to issue 83,000 PALs in 2024, marking a 15% drop from the 97,000 study permits issued in 2023. As per the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there will be a 35% drop in study permits compared to 2023, with an intake of about 3.6 lakh students.

This comes as a significant blow for students from Gujarat, as Canada has been a top destination for study abroad for the past few years. Industry estimates suggest that of the 3 lakh Indian students who went to Canada for studies in 2023, 12% to 17% or 35,000 to 50,000 were from Gujarat.

Canada-based immigration lawyer, Upinder Singh Bedi, highlighted that the biggest difference for Indian students will now be the relatively lengthy process. “The PALs will not be issued to students directly; it will be given to the institutions they are enrolling in. The government is now more interested in masters’ or doctoral level students,” he said.

However, the Canada-based Gujarati community sees a silver lining in the development. Hemant Shah, director (trade) at the Overseas Friends of India Canada (OFIC), said, “The new rules favour a skilled workforce and will require English proficiency and may favour those with prior work experience.”

Akshay Parikh, a city-based immigration consultant, noted that similar rules already exist or were recently revised in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. “With the announcement of reduction in student intake, the September cycle will surely see a drop in numbers from Gujarat. We expect the drop in applications to be anything between 30 and 50%,” he said.

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