Government of Canada updates travel restrictions for international students

KPU will reopen admissions to international students travelling from outside the country

Carole St. Laurent, KPU’s associate vice president, international (submitted).

The Government of Canada has lifted travel restrictions, once again allowing international students to enter Canada to study.

Earlier this month, Marco Mendicino, Canada’s Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister, announced that beginning Oct. 20, international students attending a designated learning institution (DLI) will be permitted to enter Canada.

International students must have a valid study permit or a letter of introduction proving they’ve been approved for a study permit, and be attending a DLI whose COVID-19 readiness plan has been approved by the province or territory.

“It’s welcomed,” says Carole St. Laurent, KPU Associate Vice President, International. “We’ve had to make significant changes to everything that we’re doing.”

As a DLI, KPU is supporting students throughout the entire process during pre-arrival preparations, quarantine, and throughout their studies. A step-by-step guideline and list of resources can be found on KPU’s international student website.

Every DLI must provide specifics to their provincial or territorial government on how they will provide information to international students on health and travel requirements before arrival, help students with quarantine plans, and provide assistance in acquiring necessities such as food and medication.

Institutions also need to establish rules for the health of students in the event there are suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases at the institution.

While it’s not absolutely necessary, KPU International and St. Laurent strongly recommend obtaining a Letter of Support. While not a guarantee for entering the country, it can help confirm eligibility. Students are eligible for a Letter of Support once declaring their travel and quarantine plans to the university.

“We think it will help them at the border,” she says. “The more support we can provide students prior to departure, the more it’s beneficial to them.”

Upon arrival in Canada, a border services officer will determine whether a studen’s’ travel is “essential”. This includes their reason for travelling and the ability to complete a 14-day quarantine once entering the country. Students must also bring with them a valid study permit, a letter of acceptance from KPU, and proof of monetary funds for supporting themselves in Canada.

“Travellers should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations,” states the government of Canada’s press release.

St. Laurent cautions the importance of international students adhering to quarantine, as failure could bring possible fines or deportation.

According to KPU’s website, “Government of Canada officials may call to verify your compliance with the mandatory quarantine rules during your 14-day quarantine,” and those international students should “be prepared to answer calls from 1-888-336-7735.”

KPU International recently implemented “enrolment targets” for international students, but the number varies by semester. St. Laurent says KPU didn’t meet its target for the Fall 2020 semester but says they still have a “healthy enrollment.” She adds that they’re expecting 1,000 international students for the Spring 2021 semester.

“COVID has significantly impacted international student enrolment across the board,” she says.

Among its list of resources, KPU International introduced a peer support program, where international students are matched with domestic students. They will act as a “lifeline” for studying in a new country and assist with things like academics and mental wellbeing.

As most classes are taking place online, St. Laurent says international students need appropriate equipment and internet connections in order to use Moodle and get the most out of their education.

“[COVID-19] has really brought the university together to brainstorm and to just work in a collaborative way in order to figure out what’s the best approach to supporting students,” she says.


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