B.C. implements federal changes for new international students


BC allowed to issue 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications in 2024

VICTORIA, BC: The Federal government recently announced that it will put a cap on the number of study permits issued to international students applying for Canadian post-secondary education. The federal government said it would allocate a portion of the cap to each province and territory, who will then distribute the allocation among their designated learning institutions.

British Columbia recently announced that it will begin issuing provincial attestation letters to eligible post-secondary institutions to allow international applicants to apply to study in B.C. as required by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
The new provincial attestation letter system will be effective as of March 4, 2024. Provincial attestation letters are now required for new study permit applications. The IRCC announced the new requirements on Jan. 22, 2024.
B.C.’s allocation allows for 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications. This compares to approximately 97,000 study permit applications in 2023 for undergraduate programs. Based on previous acceptance rates, the federal government expects this to result in approximately 50,000 approved study permit applications for 2024. This compares to approximately 60,000 approved study permits for B.C. in 2023.
The distribution for the provincial attestation letters will be 53% for public post-secondary institutions and 47% for private institutions. The distribution is based on supporting public post-secondary institutions to maintain their international student programs while managing growth for this year and for future years. These numbers are based on the federal allotment of attestation letters, they do not represent approved study permits.
The provincial attestation letter is a verification letter that will be sent from the Province to the institution, then from the institution to the international applicant. The letter will serve as proof that the applicant has been accounted for within the maximum set by the federal government. Applicants will submit the attestation letter along with their study permit application. Institutions that use their full allocation will not be able to submit more applications until a new allocation is issued by the federal government for the following year.
The allocations will allow those public post-secondary institutions with sustainable international enrolment to maintain their international student programs. Private institutions that have pursued unsustainable growth will see the greatest impact of the reduced allocation. In 2024, private institutions will receive 27% fewer study permit applications than they did in 2023.
Most new study permit applications by undergraduate post-secondary international students and graduate students in non-degree programs will require a provincial attestation letter.
Institutions will request the letter from the Province for their applicants to submit to the federal government with their study permit application.
Some applicants are exempt from the requirement, including:
primary and secondary school students;
master’s or doctoral degree students;
students already in Canada with a valid study permit or in-Canada work permit holders and their in-Canada family members;
students already in Canada applying for an extension; and
students whose application was received before 8:30 a.m. (Eastern time) on Jan. 22, 2024.