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### Canada Revokes PAL Status for Foreign Students | Ahmedabad News

AHMEDABAD: A buddy is a companion in informal terms, but this PAL might instill fear in Gujarati students aiming for higher education in Canada starting from September. In addition to securing an admission letter from an educational institution, students will now need to obtain a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) from the specific province they plan to study and work in.

foreign students

The regulations set by different provinces in Canada are expected to be finalized by March 31.

Various provinces such as British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec have already disclosed their guidelines. For instance, British Columbia is projected to issue 83,000 PALs in 2024, showing a decline of 15% from the 97,000 study permits issued in 2023 as per reports. According to the announcement by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there will be a 35% decrease in study permits compared to 2023, with an estimated intake of about 360,000 students.

This development comes as a significant setback for students from Gujarat, considering that Canada has consistently been a preferred destination for international studies in recent years. Statistics suggest that out of the 300,000 Indian students who pursued education in Canada in 2023, approximately 35,000 to 50,000 were from Gujarat, constituting 12% to 17% of the total.

Upinder Singh Bedi, an immigration attorney based in Canada, highlighted the notable change in the process for Indian students.

“The issuance of PALs will no longer be directly to students but to the institutions where they are enrolled. The regulations indicate a preference for master’s or doctoral level students. The restrictions are likely to impact bachelor’s degree, diploma, and postgraduate diploma students more significantly,” he explained. “The rationale, as articulated by the authorities, revolves around the strain on Canada’s housing sector and public services.”

Amidst these changes, the Gujarati community in Canada perceives a positive aspect. Hemant Shah, the Director of Trade at Overseas Friends of India Canada (OFIC), mentioned, “In recent years, we have witnessed a surge in Gujarati students enrolling in short-term courses to initiate their journey towards permanent residency (PR) in the country. The new directives emphasize skilled professionals, English proficiency, and prior work experience, which could benefit aspiring individuals.” He added, “The imposition of a cap is anticipated to alleviate the concerns of students and parents who often face challenges due to unfavorable working conditions and eligibility discrepancies.”

Akshay Parikh, an immigration consultant based in the city, noted that similar regulations have been either existing or recently revised in countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. “Australia was a popular choice among Gujarati students a few years back, but with reduced PR prospects, the interest has waned. While Canada witnessed a surge in student applications in recent times, the reduction in student intake may lead to a decline in the upcoming September cycle.”

“We anticipate a potential decrease ranging from 30% to 50% in applications,” he added. “Although inquiries have begun, students are likely to defer their applications from the September intake and opt for the January session to gauge the implications of the new policies.”