In a letter to members, Languages Canada explained that while students cannot come to Canada on temporary resident visas or or electronic travel authorisations, they can come to the country on a study permit.

“IRCC is aware that there is an issue in the [eligibility] questionnaire”

The association said that there has been confusion around whether students are able to enter the country on short courses due to study permit documentation not having an option for those wishing to study on courses under six months.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada confirmed to Languages Canada that students are able to travel to the country for short courses, despite what the documentation says.

“IRCC is aware that there is an issue in the [eligibility] questionnaire which does not present applicants the option to apply for a study permit if they plan to study for less than six months and do not require a temporary resident visa. We are currently working to address this issue,” IRCC said.

“In the meantime, applicants who wish to apply for a study permit for a short-term program can indicate during the eligibility questionnaire that they intend to stay in Canada for longer than six months. This will generate their document checklist for a study permit application.

“When they complete the application, the applicant should include their actual dates of study which reflect that [they] intend to study for less than six months,” IRCC added.

“This may mean they decide not to come at all or they might just go somewhere else”

Diego Sanchez, manager, international promotion and marketing at Languages Canada explained to The PIE that the financial impact of students not coming on short courses would be significant for Canadian language schools.

“In 2019, we welcomed 150,000 students. Two thirds of those students came on programs of less than six months,” he said.

Sanchez said that agencies have told Languages Canada that they thought students were unable to come to the country for under six months of study on a study permit.

According to Sanchez, confusion around the issue could affect a student’s decision making process when they are considering coming to a Canadian language school.

“A student could be considering coming, for let’s say, four months. But then they’re told, ‘no, you can’t. This may mean they decide not to come at all or they might just go somewhere else… So this is really a crucial factor, to be honest,” Sanchez added.

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