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Why was my Canadian study permit refused?

March 4th, 2022 by Katie Enman, Immigration Consultant
Why was my Canadian study permit refused?

"I am not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, as stipulated in subsection 216(1) of the IRPR, based on..."

If you’ve recently been refused a study permit, you’ve likely read this phrase and wondered, 'where did I go wrong?'.

Despite over 380,000 international students in Canada in the pre-Covid 2019/2020 academic intake, many applications get refused each year leaving hopeful students confused and frustrated.

Before submitting your application, take a read below at just some of the topics to address in your application:

Ties to your home country
First and foremost, a visa officer has to be convinced you’ll return home after your studies. Demonstrating you have a reason to go home is critical. For example, do you own property/have assets back home? Do you have family there? Do they have property or own a business? Insufficient ties to home will almost always lead to problems.

Job prospects in country of residence
Piggybacking on the above point about ensuring you’ll return home, having a job to return to or the prospect of a job is important to demonstrate. You must be able to show that upon receiving your Canadian education, you’ll be able to return home and easily join the workforce.

Logical progression of education
If you’ve already received a bachelor’s degree, trying to achieve a college diploma in Canada will incite questions. You need to make sure your chosen program does two things: a natural progression of education will be achieved (i.e. completing a masters after you’ve already received your bachelors); and/or make logical sense in terms of career progression (if you have a Bachelor of Engineering, applying to study in a Masters of Musicology program would not make logical sense).

Financial Sufficiency
You must be able to demonstrate you have the funds to pay your tuition and living expenses for at least the first year. Showing more than required is often recommended. This number will change based on your program and city. As a student, you are allowed to work a maximum 20 hours weekly (and full-time during scheduled breaks) however this should not be used as a guarantor in paying living expenses. Being allowed to work as a student is a perk, not a means of funding your studies.

It's important to submit a thorough study plan addressing at the minimum all the above topics and clearly demonstrating you have the genuine intention of studying. While there are no guarantees in immigration, taking a proactive approach in these initial stages is crucial.

If you find yourself in a situation where your application has been refused, the first step is ordering the GCMS notes. GCMS or Global Case Management System is an online information management system used by the Government of Canada’s immigration department to process applications from inside and outside Canada. Immigration officers enter notes about applications in this system which provides more detail on their main concerns. See below the link on steps and requirements to make a request under the Access to Information Act.


The article above is intended to provide general and non-case specific information on immigration related matters. It should not be used or relied on as formal legal advice.