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New regulations proposed for student visas in Canada

February 10, 2013 in Canada, Study Destination

Canada-FlagAs Canada rises up the ranks of leading destination countries for international students, its federal government is planning some important changes to the Canadian student visa system, with the goals of establishing improved protections for students, greater accountability in the visa system, and preventing fraud.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has just announced that in January 2014, the following changes will take effect for student visas (also known within Canada as “Study Permits”):

  • All Study Permit holders will be required to be enrolled and actively pursuing a course or programme of study at a designated education institution after arrival in Canada, in order to maintain legal status;
  • Provincial/territorial governments will designate institutions that are eligible to receive international students, and only students admitted to those institutions will be able to secure a Study Permit;
  • Designated institutions will have to report to provinces/territories and CIC on international student enrolment and good standing status;
  • Only those students attending designated education institutions will be granted access to Work Permit programmes;
  • Work Permit programmes will also only be accessible by full-time students who are enrolled in and actively pursuing an academic, professional or vocational programme leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate;
  • Full-time international students with valid Study Permits will be allowed to work off-campus for a maximum of 20 hours per week without a Work Permit (that is, Off-Campus Work Permits would no longer be required for such students).

Those institutions that do wish to be designated as eligible to host international students will have to minimally comply with a set of common standards:

  • Be recognised by the provincial/territorial government as being in good standing;
  • Have adopted policies and put procedures in place that protect international students including a transparent tuition-fee refund policy made available to all incoming students;
  • Have clear and well-communicated policies re: language proficiency and credential assessment and recognition for international students;
  • Have sufficient administrative capacity to provide services that meet the unique needs of international students;
  • Undertake promotional activities authorised by the province/territory and in line with the Education Canada brand;
  • Publish a policy that outlines what it takes to be a student in good standing (and this must be consistent with provincial/territorial requirements);
  • Maintain enrollment reporting requirements and have a designated individual responsible for confirming the initial enrollment of a student with a Study Permit and reporting on the ongoing enrollment status of all international students with Study Permits at the institution.

Who is eligible?
There are a number of questions arising from the proposed CIC changes but a key one is which institutions will be designated as eligible to receive international students.

If provinces are designating eligible institutions, it seems likely that most will emphasise institutions that are directly under their jurisdiction — that is, those that are regulated in one way or another by provincial or territorial governments in Canada.

This tendency is reflected in the official CIC release that anticipates eligibility for the following categories of institution:

  • Public post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province (as well as private post-secondary learning institutions in Quebec that operate under the same rules as public ones there);
  • Private post-secondary learning institutions recognised by the province but only when students are enrolled in a study programme that leads to a degree as authorised by the province;
  • Learning institutions within a public school board or district that are funded by and accountable to the province;
  • Independent or private learning institutions that deliver provincial curricula.

Canadian language institutes, which are not commonly regulated at the provincial level, do not appear on this list. This raises the question of how such programmes would be recognised under the new regulations and what the implications may be for students engaged in longer-term studies, or any language programme requiring a Work Permit, in 2014.

Consultation before implementation
CIC is now entering into a consultation process with all stakeholders who will be affected by the changes, including provincial/territorial governments and education associations. The intent of the consultations will be to fully communicate the extent and intended interpretation of the changes as well as to refine the regulations further as required.

While questions around the implementation of the proposed changes remain, CIC’s goal of increasing the integrity and accountability of Canada’s International Student Program is being supported by most stakeholders.



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Everything that you want to know about TOEFL iBT

February 10, 2013 in Test Prep, TOEFL


Q 1- Who conducts the TOEFL?
The TOEFL examination is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ets.org) a more than 60 year old, non-profit organisation based in US.

Q 2- What is TOEFL?
TOEFL is Test Of English as Foreign Language, it is used to measure an individual’s proficiency in English and evaluates him/her on his listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills. The TOEFL test measures integrated skills needed to succeed in a classroom.

Q 3- How many times in the year is the TOEFL iBT held? Where can one write the TOEFL?
Testing dates for the TOEFL examination are approximately 38-40 times a year. This test is held at more than 4,500 testing centres in more than 165 countries. In India it is held at 40 centres spread across the country.

Q 4- What is the fee for examination?
The cost of the test can range from US$160 to US$250 and varies between countries. Registration closes seven days before your test date.But you can go for late registrations also, which gets closed three days before your test date (not including the day of the test) and a late fee of US$35 is charged.

Q 5- How to register?
Registrations are done 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the website “ets.org”, but be sure to spell your name exactly as it appears on the identification you will bring on test day.You can pay with a credit/debit card: American Express®, Discover®, JCB®, MasterCard® or VISA® and you can also use an electronic check (e-check) if you have a bank account in the United States or its territories.

Q 6- When is the right time to take the test?
Students can take the the exam when required but we would encourage them to take the exam with complete preparation since it tests you on the four aspects of Language, time should be devoted on its preparation as well.

Q 7- Is TOEFL an online test?
There are two kinds of format of TOEFL tests Paper based Test (PBT) and Internet Based Test (iBT), The PBT is offered in locations where the TOEFL iBT test is not available, at 90% of the locations iBT is offered. In India, only TOEFL iBT is offered.

Q 8- How long does the TOEFL take to complete?
It takes almost four hours to complete the test, So complete testing process can be finished in half a day.

Q 9- What is considered a good score in TOEFL? Which universities recognise TOEFL scores, and for which programmes? What is the cut-off score required by top universities?
Institutions set their own individual cut off TOEFL scores. ETS does not set scores. It just reports what you scored in the test, More than 8,500 institutions worldwide accept the TOEFL test. It is one of the the most widely accepted forms of English-language assessment.

Q 10- How is the test scored?
The TOEFL iBT test provides scores as Reading (0-30), Listening (0-30), Speaking (0-30), Writing (0-30), Thus total score is between 0-120. The total score is the sum of the four skill scores.

Q 11- How long does it take for results to be declared? How long is it valid?
It takes ETS 14 to 18 days to report the scores and test scores are valid for two years.

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