International Education

International Student Program Changes

On Monday, January 22, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), unveiled significant modifications to Canada's International Student Program, which can be summarized as follows:

Points to Note

  • A cap on international students study permits, distributed by province
  • Reforms to the Post-Graduate Work Permit that will render students coming into public college private partnerships ineligible
  • Limits on Open Work Permits available to spouses of international students
Three women international students posing for photo outside wearing convocation gowns.

Lambton College's Response

While Lambton College commends the IRCC’s commitment to protecting students and the integrity of Canada’s International Student Program, we are deeply concerned about the impact these new measures will have on our students, our College and our community.

Lambton College takes great pride in our international education program and the role our international students and graduates play in our community. Sarnia-Lambton has been fortunate to welcome students from all around the world, and we are thankful for the diversity, innovation and economic contribution they bring to our region. 

In response to the IRCC’s announced changes, we are collaborating closely with the provinces 23 other public colleges as well as provincial and national associations to seek further clarification from government.

We are urging the federal government to continue to engage with us and our provincial government in meaningful conversation and hope that they will consider the effects of these recent measures on communities like Sarnia.

At this time, we are asking the Federal Government to consider the following requests:

  1. Extend the grace period and continue processing student visas until March 31, 2024, considering the immediate impact on students and employers.
  2. Exemptions from the cap for students in programs where there is great demand in labour markets, including programs that address significant demand for employees in healthcare, home building, energy, engineering technology, early childhood education, cyber security, etc.
  3. An exemption for Lambton College’s Public College – Private Partners (PCPP), Cestar College and Queen’s College, in the Post-Graduate Work Permit program restrictions based on the proven excellence of their programs, student and graduate support services, as well as their positive impact on the province’s workforces and communities.

Our College has always been agile and innovative, and as we learn more about how this new policy will be implemented, we are confident that we will successfully pivot and a find a path forward. We will continue to actively engage with all levels of government in finding effective solutions and assist our students in any way possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

This information is current as of 14-February-2024 and will be updated as and when more information becomes available.

Do these changes impact international students who are already studying in Canada?
No, these changes impact prospective students who will apply for their study permit after 22-January-2024 and/or those who will begin a study program starting 1-September-2024 as part of a curriculum licensing agreement. In the weeks ahead, please note that open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master's and doctoral programs; the spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible.For more information, including potential forthcoming changes to spousal work permit eligibility, please refer to the official IRCC news release HERE.
Does Lambton College offer programs that are part of a curriculum licensing agreement?
Programs offered at our main Sarnia campus and at our Center for Graduate Studies in Ottawa are not delivered as part of a curriculum licensing agreement. Lambton College programs offered in Toronto (at the Cestar College campus) and in Mississauga (at the Queen's College campus) are delivered as part of a curriculum licensing agreement.
Is Lambton College currently accepting international applications?
Yes, we are currently accepting international applications for the September 2024 intake in Sarnia and Ottawa. At the time of IRCC's announcement, recruitment for our May 2024 intake - as well as many individual programs in the September 2024 intake - were already closed for admission.
Do these changes impact prospective international students who are joining Lambton College in the May 2024 intake?
Prospective students who applied or received their study permit before 22-January-2024 are not affected by these changes. If you have not already submitted a study permit application to IRCC, your application will now be subject to the new attestation letter requirement effective 22-January-2024. We look forward to sharing more information about Ontario's attestation letter process when available. For more information, please refer to the official IRCC news release HERE.
I have applied and received admission to Lambton in Toronto (at the Cestar College campus) or Lambton in Mississauga (at the Queen's College campus) for the May 2024 intake. Am I eligible to apply for a Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after graduation?
Yes, international students at all Lambton College study locations (including Toronto and Mississauga) who have been admitted for the May 2024 intake are eligible to apply for a PGWP upon graduation. Changes to PGWP eligibility only apply to curriculum licensing agreement programs for students who start their program on or after 1-September-2024. Please refer to the IRCC website for more information about PGWP eligibility HERE.
What is an attestation letter, who needs one, and how do I apply?
As of 22-January-2024 most study permit applications submitted to IRCC must be accompanied by an attestation letter from the Province or Territory of your intended study. Provinces and Territories are expected to establish a process for issuing attestation letters to students by no later than 31-March-2024. For more information about the study permit application process, please refer to the Government of Canada website HERE.
As a current international student in Canada, do I require an attestation letter to extend my study permit?
No, students who are extending their study permit do not require an attestation letter. For more information about the study permit application process, please refer to the Government of Canada website HERE.