In a significant development for international students, British Columbia has implemented its Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) system, effective from March 4, 2024. This new process requires international students to include a PAL along with their study permit application, serving as proof of acceptance by a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) within the allocated limits.

Allocation Details:

The British Columbia government has received a total allocation of 83,000 undergraduate study permit applications from Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The federal government anticipates approximately 50,000 approved study permit applications for 2024, based on past acceptance rates. This marks a decrease from the previous year when there were 97,000 applications and around 60,000 approved study permits.

Distribution of PALs:

Of the PALs issued, 53% will be allocated to public post-secondary institutions, while the remaining 47% will go to private institutions. Notably, this represents a 27% reduction in study permit applications for private institutions compared to 2023. The reduction aims to address concerns of “unsustainable growth” in this sector.

Implementation Strategy:

British Columbia’s PAL system is the first to be introduced following IRCC’s decision to impose a cap on the number of study permits issued in 2024. This strategic move is anticipated to set a precedent, with other provinces expected to adopt similar systems in the coming weeks to meet the March 31 deadline.


The introduction of British Columbia’s PAL system marks a significant shift in the application process for international students. With the province taking proactive measures to manage study permit allocations and curb unsustainable growth, this development is likely to shape the landscape of international education in Canada. As other provinces follow suit, the March 31 deadline looms as a crucial date for prospective international students navigating the evolving regulatory landscape.

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