International student applications to support labour market needs including skilled trades

stock photo students

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government says it will prioritize public postsecondary programs that support Ontario’s labour market needs when allocating international student applications.

“We are protecting the integrity of our province’s postsecondary education system by attracting the best and brightest international students to Ontario to study in areas that are critical to our economy,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “We have been working with postsecondary institutions to ensure international students are enrolled in the programs to support a pipeline of graduates for in-demand jobs.”

Ontario will allocate 96 per cent of permit applications to publicly assisted colleges and universities, with the remaining four per cent allotted to Ontario’s language schools, private universities and other institutions. Career colleges will not receive any applications.

Approvals will be based on the following criteria:

  • Prioritize programs in the following high-demand areas, including skilled trades, health human resources, STEM, hospitality and child care.
  • Cannot exceed the institution’s 2023 permit levels.
  • As a final backstop, the ratio of international permits cannot exceed 55 per cent (exclusive of high-demand areas) of the institution’s 2023 first-year domestic enrolment.

Most international students seeking to study in Ontario must provide a provincial letter of attestation as proof that the applicant has been accounted for within the maximum allocations set by the federal government.

The government will also require  all publicly assisted colleges and universities to guarantee that housing options are available for incoming international students.

Also, the newly introduced Strengthening Accountability and Student Supports Act, 2024 that would, if passed, help to enhance the student experience by putting in place additional measures to support mental health, safe and inclusive campuses and allow for increased transparency of fees, benefiting all students including international students.

International students may apply for a post-graduation work permit after graduating from an eligible designated learning institution (DLI) in Canada. Ontario approves DLIs under the joint provincial-federal International Student Program. DLIs are eligible to enrol international students in programs of study six months in duration or longer on a study permit issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

As part of the changes announced by the federal government in January 2024, international students who begin a program at a publicly assisted college that is delivered through a private partner will not be eligible for a post-graduation work permit starting on May 15, 2024.


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