Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Ontario Channels International Student Applications to Bolster Labor Market Demands

Responding to federal restrictions on international student study permit applications for the next two years, Ontario is taking decisive steps to prioritize public postsecondary programs that equip graduates for high-demand roles essential to the province’s workforce.

“We are committed to safeguarding the integrity of Ontario’s postsecondary education system by attracting top-tier international students to study in fields vital to our economy,” remarked Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “Our collaboration with postsecondary institutions ensures international students are enrolled in programs tailored to meet the demands of our job market.”

Ontario will allocate 96 percent of permit applications to publicly assisted colleges and universities, reserving the remaining four percent for language schools, private universities, and other institutions. Career colleges will not receive any applications.

Allocation criteria include:

Prioritization of programs in high-demand areas such as skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality, and child care. Adherence to the institution’s 2023 permit levels. A maximum ratio of international permits, excluding high-demand areas, to 55 percent of the institution’s 2023 first-year domestic enrolment as a final safeguard. French-language enrollment will receive emphasis to meet the demand for workers with French-language skills. The government pledges to collaborate with colleges and universities to facilitate the transition to programs aligned with labor market needs, fostering Ontario’s economic growth.

Most international students must provide a provincial letter of attestation with their study permit application, ensuring compliance with federal allocation limits. Students can obtain this letter by contacting the admissions office of their chosen Ontario postsecondary institution or visiting the ministry website for guidance.

To ensure a positive experience for international postsecondary students, the government:

Mandates publicly assisted colleges and universities to guarantee housing options for incoming international students. Allocated over $32 million in 2023-24 to support the mental health of all postsecondary students through direct funding to institutions. Proposed the Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024, to enhance student experiences by bolstering mental health support, campus safety, inclusivity, and fee transparency, benefiting all students, including international ones. International students graduating from eligible designated learning institutions (DLIs) in Canada can apply for a post-graduation work permit. Ontario approves DLIs under the joint provincial-federal International Student Program, allowing them to enroll international students in programs lasting six months or longer on study permits issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Effective May 15, 2024, changes announced by the federal government stipulate that international students commencing programs at publicly assisted colleges delivered through private partners will be ineligible for post-graduation work permits

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