January 19, 2024

Canada Unveils New Measures to Safeguard the Integrity of International Student Programs

Canada, renowned for its welcoming approach to international students, has recently taken significant steps to fortify the integrity of its international student program. Immigration Minister Marc Miller, in an effort to combat fraud and maintain the quality of education for international students, has unveiled a comprehensive plan. This blog will delve into the details of these new measures and explore their implications for the international student community and those aspiring to migrate to Canada.

Canada's Commitment to International Students

Canada's commitment to international students is unwavering. The country has emerged as one of the top destinations for students worldwide, attracting thousands from various corners of the globe. In 2022, Canada hosted a record-breaking 551,405 international students from 184 different countries. As of the end of the same year, there were an astonishing 807,750 international students holding valid Canadian study permits, marking another all-time high. The international student population in Canada has quadrupled over the past 15 years, driven by factors such as a rising global middle class, high-quality education, employment prospects, and immigration pathways.

New Measures to Ensure Integrity

Marc Miller's recent announcement focuses on enhancing the integrity of the international student program, acknowledging its vital role in Canada's education and immigration landscape. The following measures have been introduced to ensure that international students receive authentic educational opportunities:

  1. Verification of Letters of Acceptance (LOA): To combat fraud against international students, the Canadian federal government is implementing a scheme to verify the authenticity of Letters of Acceptance (LOA) that prospective international students require when applying for a study permit.
  2. Recognized Institutions Framework: By the fall semester of 2024, the government plans to introduce a "Recognized Institutions Framework" for Canadian Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). DLIs include colleges, universities, and educational institutions approved by provincial and territorial governments to welcome international students. This framework will establish higher standards for services, support, and outcomes for international students. DLIs meeting the integrity criteria set by the IRCC will be eligible for certain benefits, including priority processing of study permit applications.
  3. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Review: The PGWP, which has not been reviewed in a decade, is set to undergo comprehensive reforms. The objective is to tailor the PGWP to address Canada's labor shortages in specific sectors and align it with regional and Francophone immigration goals.

Growing International Student Numbers

Canada's popularity among international students continues to soar. Marc Miller anticipates that Canada will host approximately 900,000 international students in 2023. The Canadian government has been issuing a substantial number of study permits, with a remarkable 77% increase in new study permits issued between January and June 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Challenges in Maintaining Integrity

Recent events have emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of Canada's international student program. Earlier this year, over 700 Indian students in Canada faced deportation due to the discovery of fraudulent Letters of Acceptance (LOAs). Many of these students had completed their studies and were in the process of applying for permanent residency when the fraud was uncovered. The LOAs had been forged by an unscrupulous immigration consultant in India who subsequently disappeared. It's worth noting that the international students who were unaware of or uninvolved in the fraud were spared from deportation.

Senate Report on International Student Integrity

The issue of international student integrity was further brought to the forefront by a report released by four members of Canada's Senate on September 20. The report emphasized the economic, social, and cultural benefits of international students in Canada. However, it also highlighted challenges, particularly the role of education agents who often direct international students towards post-secondary programs that are ineligible for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP). Completing such programs can be a waste of time and money, as graduates may not be eligible to work and gain permanent residence in Canada.

Minister Miller's Focus on Integrity

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has consistently stressed the importance of international student program integrity since taking office. He has acknowledged the "integrity challenges" associated with the current visa process for international students in Canada. Miller is committed to addressing these issues and preventing false hope from being provided to international students by individuals seeking to exploit them.


Canada's commitment to international students remains resolute, and these new measures aim to protect the integrity of the international student program. By verifying LOAs, establishing a Recognized Institutions Framework, and reviewing the PGWP, Canada is striving to provide authentic educational opportunities and maintain its status as a leading destination for international students. These measures not only safeguard the interests of international students but also align with the country's immigration goals.

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