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Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently announced some figures highlighting the success of its Letter of Acceptance (LOA) verification process. This process was launched on December 1, 2023 to protect students from study permit scams.

So far, almost 162,000 LOAs have been reviewed by IRCC, and close to 142,000 have been validated directly by Canada’s designated learning institutions. However, almost 9,000 did not match an LOA issued by a Canadian education institution, which means that these were likely fraudulent or had already been cancelled prior to the student applying for a study permit in Canada. 

Key Takeaways

  • Last year, the Government of Canada became aware of schemes relying on fraudulent admission letters to apply for study permits in Canada. Most of the students involved were unaware that their admission was based on a fraudulent document. 
  • To prevent the fraud from continuing, Canada introduced a verification process into the study permit application – this is the letter of acceptance verification. 
  • This process has now validated almost 142,000 LOAs, and identified 9,000 LOAs that were not able to be validated. 

What Was The Letter of Acceptance Fraud in 2023? 

In 2023, IRCC saw a surge in study permit applications using fraudulent Letters of Acceptance. There were more than 2,000 fake LOAs identified, primarily in applications coming from unauthorized consultants in India, Vietnam, and China. 

Canada established a task force to review the applications, and 135 different immigration officers across 9 visa offices reviewed 285 cases. The goal was to ensure that applicants who genuinely did not know about the fraud would not be removed from Canada. Most of the students were found to be genuine and received temporary resident permits of up to 3 years. 

As a result, IRCC adopted the Letter of Acceptance verification process. This requires Canadian educators (DLIs) to validate LOAs directly. 

What is a Letter of Acceptance? 

The Letter of Acceptance (LOA) for studying in Canada is an official confirmation of your admission. This document contains your personal details, information about the program and institution, the expected duration of your studies, tuition costs, and any scholarships or financial aid awarded. Additionally, it specifies any conditions for your acceptance or enrollment, such as language proficiency requirements, along with other pertinent information.

How Do LOA Verifications Protect International Students in Canada? 

The fake Letter of Acceptance fraud impacted hundreds of students and exposed systemic issues in the study permit application process. The LOA validation process helps to reduce the risk that individuals will arrive in Canada using a permit obtained through fraud, and the risks of deportation that come with it. 

The fact that there have been almost 9,000 LOAs identified as either cancelled or potentially fraudulent between December 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024 showcases the very real risks international students face in applying to come to study in Canada. 



Other Measures Introduced To Improve Outcomes For International Students

Canada’s Government has also announced the following measures for international students: 

  • Work hours for international students have been increased to 24 hours per week. This allows students to complete three shifts within the week, while also recognising the research that shows students who work more than 24 hours weekly are more likely to drop out or face performance decline. 
  • Measures were announced earlier to protect international students from ‘diploma mills’, including the Provincial Attestation Letter requirement and student permit caps. 
  • The cost-of-living threshold increased the amount of access to funds international students must show so they are more financially prepared for life in Canada while studying. 

If you’re interested in studying in Canada, we recommend you create a free Moving2Canada account to access the tailored student checklist and other helpful resources. You can also subscribe to the newsletter to receive updates like this in your inbox. 

About the author

Stephanie Ford profile picture

Stephanie Ford

Finance, Law and Immigration Writer
Stephanie is a content marketer who has written for law firms (with a focus on immigration and privacy), legal tech companies, and finance professionals for more than 9 years. She earned a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning in Australia. Stephanie is now a permanent resident of Canada and a full-time writer at Moving2Canada.
Read more about Stephanie Ford
Citation "Canada’s Letter of Acceptance Process Uncovers 9,000 Invalid Applications." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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