Today, Canadian Senate members issued a report describing ways to improve the integrity of the program for international students in Canada.
While the survey reveals that international students benefit Canada’s economy as well as its social and cultural landscape, there are a slew of integrity challenges inside Canada’s international student program.
The report emphasizes, “While the Canadian government is being forthright about the highly competitive nature of the permanent residence application process, it could do more to be forthright about the immigration benefits of studying in Canada.”
The report makes the following major recommendations
National review of the financial sustainability of DLIs
The report suggests that the Canadian post-secondary education sector is too vulnerable because of its reliance on foreign students for funding.
If there are any future downward “shifts in global international student trends” away from Canada, or if there are any “diplomatic disputes” that reduce international student enrollment in this country, Canada could be negatively impacted.
Greater oversight on DLIs including private colleges
This report suggests that oversight of Canada’s educational institutions could positively impact the lives of international students in this country by ensuring DLIs across the country work tirelessly and constantly to provide international students with a “positive on- and off-campus experience.”
This is because such scrutiny can result in pro-student policies such as requiring DLIs to demonstrate how they will assist international students in finding housing and jobs, as well as handle other settlement difficulties such as mental health.
According to the Senate report, “DLIs that do not meet the standard should be subject to losing their ability to welcome additional international students.”
Raise awareness among international students
As mentioned above in the section about education brokers, enrolling in PGWP-ineligible programs is a major issue for international students.
To that end, the research contends that the Canadian government at all levels can do a better job of informing students about which programs are and are not eligible for a PGWP.
This is significant because “strong motivation exists among international students to obtain PGWPs and permanent residence” after graduation.
Housing supply for international students
This recommendation, which necessitates an initial discussion about educational institutions’ ability to support themselves financially outside of international student enrollment, requests that the federal government take the following steps to ensure adequate international student accommodation:
- Obtaining federal statistics on student housing is critical for making educated decisions.
- Creating a dedicated funding stream for postsecondary institutions to develop affordable housing choices for students is part of the National Housing Strategy.
Increase international students’ understanding of their legal rights
According to the report’s authors, DLIs, as the initial point of contact for many international students in this country, and the Canadian government both need to do a better job of informing international students about their rights regarding housing, employment, and sexual abuse.
Because many of these infractions occur and go unreported due to a lack of understanding, informing students of their rights and what they can do if they are a victim of these issues will help mitigate future concerns.
National policy approach for temporary resident to permanent resident paths
When expressed clearly, this type of national strategy can help limit disappointment among international students while also informing them of the realities of Canadian permanent residence (PR), namely that there are a much smaller number of PR spots in Canada than students may have been told when planning their studies and life in Canada.
National policy on international student settlement assistance
This report, like the other national policy suggestion, highlights various advantages of implementing the same method with settlement help for international students. These are some examples:
- Better care for international students and a better overall experience
- Addressing the issues raised earlier in the report
- Providing a means to better educate and prepare international students for life as permanent citizen in Canada
- Recommendations from the federal government
Nationwide linguistic standard for DLI entrance
Standardizing how DLIs convey admission standards will reduce uncertainty among international students and assure more success–both academically and otherwise–when they arrive to Canada.
Following in the footsteps of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a uniform baseline for international student admission standards could be helpful to all stakeholders.
Improve the LOA verification process
This report recommends that IRCC strengthen the verification process for Letters of Admission (LOAs), as this would “strengthen the integrity of the international student program while also saving trouble and resources down the line,” such as IRCC spending time and other resources on court proceedings and deportations later on.
According to the research, this process can be accelerated by utilizing current technology, such as those presently available in the private sector.
Amending IRPA and IRPR to further control the conduct of education agents
A fresh look at reforming Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) can help introduce federal policies to regulate the conduct of unsuspecting and desperate students by overseas education agents and post-secondary institutions.
This research, for example, advises that “stronger penalties, such as fines and the revocation of DLI status, should be considered for those who violate” new policy measures enacted following the reform of IRPA and Canada’s IRPR.
Look at further regulations governing international student tuition
Increased regulations in this situation, according to the report, should take into account factors like lowering the cap on tuition increases for international students.
This is in line with the report’s first recommendation because it is only possible to do so by reducing DLIs’ reliance on international student fees to pay for operational costs.
Increase education agent restrictions and sanctions
To the same extent as recommendation 10, other provinces and territories should follow Manitoba’s lead in adequately regulating foreign educational agents/international student recruiters.
Manitoba’s International Education Act outlines a variety of measures that govern behaviour and penalties placed on parties who demonstrate poor behaviour, including fines and a code of conduct that can serve as a teaching tool for Canada’s other provinces and territories.
Will there be a cap on international students in Canada?
Four members of Canada’s Senate released a report on improving the international student program in Canada and clearly ruled out any question of putting a cap on international students coming to Canada.