IRCC updates: Frequently Asked Questions

On January 22, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced several measures intended to protect the integrity of Canada's international student program.

These measures include:

  • a cap on new study permit applications submitted outside Canada
  • a requirement for most study permit applicants to include a letter of attestation from their destination province with their study permit application
  • anticipated changes to post-graduation work permit eligibility and spousal open work permit eligibility

International students are a vital and valued part of UVic’s social fabric, learning environment, and co-curricular life. We want to reassure international students that we remain committed to welcoming you to our campus and supporting you through every stage of your studies.

UVic is actively engaging with the provincial and federal governments as well as with national organizations, to seek clarity on these updated policies and to understand the impacts and next steps for our international students. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these changes.

This page will continually be updated as information becomes available. Please check back again soon.


New student applications

The British Columbia (BC) provincial government announced a two-year moratorium that applies only to new institutions who are wanting to apply to become Designated Learning Institutions and host international students.  

This does not affect the University of Victoria as we are currently a Designated Learning Institution, so you are welcome to apply for our programs.

Read more about the BC provincial government announcement


Study permit cap and application requirements

I'm a current DCS student in Canada with a valid study permit. How will IRCC's new cap on study permit applications affect me?

The IRCC announcement indicates that current study permit holders will not be impacted by the cap. The cap applies to new study permit applications submitted from outside Canada only. Updated January 25, 2024

 

I'm a current DCS student and need to extend my study permit. Will I need an attestation letter from the province?

No, an attestation letter is not required for a study permit extension application from inside Canada. For more information about the study permit extension process, see Extend your study permit.

Please contact your program area for the correct documentation, such as a study permit information letter, for your study permit extension application.

If you are outside Canada and need to apply for a new study permit before you return, you may require an attestation letter. For more information, visit IRCC website and contact an International Student Advisor for guidance based on your individual circumstances. Updated February 21, 2024

I submitted my study permit application before January 22, 2024, but I haven't received a decision yet. Do I need an attestation letter?

Based on the additional information provided on the IRCC website, it is our understanding that applications submitted before 8:30 am (ET) on January 22, 2024, as well as those students who have already received approval for a study permit and have not yet travelled to Canada for their upcoming program, do not require an attestation letter. Updated February 21, 2024

 

I have been admitted to the DCS at UVic as a post-secondary certificate or diploma program student for an upcoming term, but I haven't applied for my study permit yet. How can I get an attestation letter from the province for my study permit application?

The British Columbia (BC) provincial government is developing a process for students to get an attestation letter. This process is expected to be in place by March 31, 2024. We are awaiting details of how you will be able to request this letter for your study permit application and will update this page as more information is made available. The IRCC website will also be updated with information on how to obtain an attestation letter once there is a process in place.

If you are a post-secondary DCS certificate or diploma student outside Canada, please do not apply for your study permit until you receive an attestation letter from the province. If you apply without this letter, IRCC will return your application unprocessed. Updated January 25, 2024 

 

I have been admitted to English as an Additional Language (EAL) program(s) at the English Language Centre (ELC) at UVic for studies more than 6 months in duration for an upcoming term, and I haven't yet applied for my study permit. Do I need an attestation letter from the province to apply for a study permit?

Yes. As per the IRCC website, most international students studying in Canada for more than 6 months in duration will require a study permit. The attestation letter will be required for the study permit application. 

If you are an ELC student outside Canada and you will apply for a study permit, please do not apply for your study permit until you receive an attestation letter from the province. If you apply without this letter, IRCC will return your application unprocessed. Updated January 25, 2024

 

I have been admitted to English as an Additional Language (EAL) program(s) at the English Language Centre (ELC) at UVic for studies less than 6 months in duration for an upcoming term. Do I need to apply for a study permit, and do I need an attestation letter from the province to apply for a study permit?

No. If your program of study inside Canada is less than 6 months and you do not plan to extend your studies beyond 6 months, you do not need to apply for a study permit.

Visit the IRCC website to determine if you need a study permit.

Please note: If you register for a program of study for less than 6 months in duration and you are considering registering for additional programs of study inside Canada, we strongly recommend that you consider applying for a study permit before you travel to Canada. As noted on the IRCC website, having a study permit when you are inside Canada will allow you to extend your status as a student more easily if you decide to register for additional study programs. If you choose to apply for a study permit before you travel to Canada then, yes, you must receive an attestation letter for your study permit application. Updated January 25, 2024


Post-graduation work permits

IRCC's announcement says that starting September 1, 2024, international students attending a private college that has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit (PGWP).

Will this policy update affect students in the DCS programs?

Based on current PGWP criteria, it is our understanding that the post-secondary certificate and diploma programs at the DCS currently meet the eligibility criteria for the PGWP. For current PGWP criteria, please see Work in Canada after you graduate

The DCS is part of the University of Victoria and falls under the same Designated Learning Institution (DLI) number. As noted on the Letter of Acceptance that is issued to all admitted students in DCS programs, UVic is a public institution. Updated January 25, 2024


Spousal open work permits

I am a current DCS student at UVic and my spouse or common-law partner is in Canada with an open work permit based on my student status. Will my spouse/partner be able to extend their open work permit?

In an update on February 5, 2024, IRCC stated that once the changes for the spousal open work permit eligibility are in affect, spouses and common-law partners of international students applying to extend their existing work permit and who continue to meet the eligibility criteria will continue to be eligible under this stream.

For current spousal open work permit criteria, see Help your spouse or common-law partner work in CanadaUpdated February 21, 2024

 

I am a current DCS student at UVic and my spouse or common-law partner hasn’t come to Canada yet. Can they still apply for an open work permit?

IRCC's announcement states that in the weeks ahead, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master's and doctoral programs. However, they have not yet announced details of how this change will be implemented, or when it will take effect. They have also not clarified whether spouses of DCS students who apply for open work permits before the change takes effect may still be approved if they are processed after the change takes effect. We will share more information on this page as it becomes available. For current spousal open work permit criteria, see Help your spouse or common-law partner work in CanadaUpdated January 25, 2024

I have been admitted as a DCS post-secondary certificate or diploma program student for an upcoming term and my spouse or common-law partner has been approved for an open work permit with my study permit approval, but we haven't travelled to Canada yet. Will they still be able to come to Canada with me?

IRCC has not yet announced details of how the change to spousal open work permit eligibility will be implemented, when it will take effect, or how it might impact spouses and partners who have already been approved for an open work permit but who haven't yet travelled to Canada. We will share more information on this page as it becomes available. Updated January 25, 2024

 

I have been admitted as a DCS post-secondary certificate or diploma program student for an upcoming term and my spouse or common-law partner has applied for an open work permit together with my study permit application, but it hasn't been approved yet. Will their application be refused due to the change in spousal open work permit eligibility criteria?

IRCC has not yet announced details of how the change to spousal open work permit eligibility will be implemented, when it will take effect, or how it might impact spouses and partners who already have an open work permit application in process. We will share more information on this page as it becomes available. Updated January 25, 2024

 

I have been admitted as a DCS post-secondary certificate or diploma program student for an upcoming term.  Can my spouse still apply for a spousal open work permit?

IRCC's announcement states that in the weeks ahead, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master's and doctoral programs. However, they have not yet announced details of how this change will be implemented, or when it will take effect. We will share more information on this page as it becomes available. For current spousal open work permit criteria, see Help your spouse or common-law partner work in CanadaUpdated January 25, 2024