BC Toughening Up International Student Regulations Trying To Cut Down On Visa Fraud

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VICTORIA – British Columbia is introducingnew, rigorous requirements to ensureschools and institutions hosting internationalstudents meet the province’s higheststandard of education quality, and offerstudents tuition protection. Effective June2014, all post-secondary institutions andlanguage schools accepting internationalstudents for study programs of longer thansix months will be required to have BritishColumbia’s EducationQuality Assurance (EQA) designation. Thechanges will be phased in over 18 monthsto give schools and institutions sufficienttime to acquire the necessary approval.There will also be clearly defined pathwaysto meet the new EQA designation requirements.For an institution to achieve theprovince’s new EQA designation, it mustmeet established quality assurance standards,including having a transparenttuition refund policy.For non-regulated associations with establishedquality criteria, additional steps willbe required to meet new EQA requirements.The new standard is in response to changesto the federal government’s InternationalStudent Program coming into force in June2014, which requires all jurisdictions todevelop a list of post-secondary institutionsthat are eligible to host internationalstudents for study programs of longer thansix months. The changes are also consistentwith the approach being taken by otherjurisdictions across Canada. The new standardwill apply to all post-secondary institutionsin the province that offer educationalprogramming to international studentswho are in programs longer than sixmonths. Government has committed toincreasing by 50 per cent the number ofinternational students by 2016. In 2011-12,106,600 international students came toBritish Columbia, an increase of 13 percent since 2009-10.