British Columbia confirms 83,000 applications for UG permits over the upcoming two years.

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Posted on March 5, 2024


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In 2023, the government received approximately 97,000 applications for undergraduate study permits. As of March 4, the province will start sending out provincial certification letters to qualified post-secondary institutions.

The proportion of letters received by prospective undergraduate students from private and public universities is almost equal. The federal government anticipates that application allocation will lead to about 50,000 approved study permit applications in 2024, down from 60,000 in 2023, based on prior acceptance rates.

ApplyBoard had already predicted that the province would have an annual cap of 83,486 over the following two years. Given that British Columbia is home to about 14% of Canada’s total population, PIE calculations predict that the province will obtain about 50,000 study permits in 2024.

The province is “moving quickly to ensure we mitigate the negative impacts on our post-secondary institutions and provide international students with every opportunity to succeed,” according to Lisa Beare, British Columbia’s Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

She continued, “While we all agree that the status quo works for no one, not for our communities, not for students, the federal cap does not account for British Columbia’s unique environment.”

Former provincial minister of post-secondary education Selina Robinson declared in January that no new post-secondary institutions wishing to admit overseas students will be permitted to open for enrollment until February 2026.

It further said that there will be new minimum language standards and more regular inspections of private post-secondary educational institutions.

Higher accreditation requirements also apply to private schools, which include proving that graduates are in demand in the job market and providing sufficient resources and assistance for students.

The goal of the action is to “improve the quality of post-secondary education and counter exploitative practices.”

On January 22, the IRCC said that province attestation letters will be necessary as of right now for any new study permit applications. The letters, proving that applicants have been accommodated within federal government ceilings, will be distributed to both public and private educational establishments.

About 53% of students will attend post-secondary public institutions and 47% will attend private ones.

According to British Columbia, the division would enable public post-secondary educational institutions that have “sustainable international enrolment” to continue offering programs for overseas students.

Compared to 2023, private colleges will receive 27% fewer applications for study permits overall this year. According to BC, those who have sought unsustainable expansion will be most affected by the lower allotment.

According to recent statistics from CBC News, a small number of Ontario public universities are disproportionately associated with the unsustainable increase in the number of overseas students.

Politicians at the federal and local levels have questioned this by blaming the surge in foreign enrollment in the country on “bad actors” at private universities.

It is estimated that 360,000 out of the 605,000 PALs that the federal government is providing to post-secondary schools nationwide will lead to an acceptance of the offer and the issuance of study permits.

Comparable to Willy Wonka’s golden tickets are PALs. According to Cath D’Amico, the former president of Languages Canada, “if you send out a letter and the student isn’t using it, that letter is not returned to the university,” universities have created entire rubrics to identify which kids are most likely to accept their offer.

“Canada is now a casino… According to D’Amico, “each university is actually analyzing student acceptance rates, which will probably skew the government’s 60/40% calculations.”

Furthermore, according to D’Amico, institutions are worried that they may send a letter to a student who will then take it and use it to apply for another school because the federal government has not provided explicit details about how PALs would be monitored.

The requirement went into effect on January 22 at 8:30 a.m. (ET) and exempts K–12, master’s and doctorate students, students currently in Canada with valid permits, and those requesting for an extension.

By the end of March, provinces and territories are expected to have their plans ready to send out the letters.

Preceding acceptance rates suggest that Ontario’s study permits may be restricted to around 140,000 from 220,000, and Alberta’s to 43,000 from 22,000. In 2023, it is anticipated that Quebec would grow from 37,000 to 83,000.

The allotment will likely lead the overall number of study permits in other provinces with lower population levels to increase during the following two years.