From the Provost’s Desk: International student update

Thank you to the many staff members who have worked tirelessly to support our international students.


The University of Alberta is a top destination for some of the brightest international students — more than 8,400 students from around the world currently study at the U of A. These students are an important part of our vibrant and diverse campus community and learning environment, so I want to update you on how we’re working to support them in light of recent changes announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). 

I’m happy to report we’ve made considerable progress since these changes were announced, and the U of A does not expect the changes to limit our international student enrolment. In fact, we expect our international undergraduate enrolment to grow. To make this growth a reality, the Office of the Registrar’s Admissions staff has been working hard to process applications from international students, resulting in an increase in the number of offers to eligible students.

The Registrar’s Enrolment Services and International Recruitment teams, along with University of Alberta International, have also been hard at work to support applicants through the study permit and provincial attestation letter (PAL) request process. Working closely with the Government of Alberta, university officials swiftly implemented a system to request and issue PALs with a maximum turnaround time of seven to 10 days. So far, the university has issued 410 PALs to international undergraduate students, and all international undergraduate students who have paid the tuition deposit prior to the week of March 18 have now received their PAL; international graduate, degree-seeking students are not required to obtain a PAL. 

I encourage you to visit the UAI web page linked here, as we will continue to post updates on immigration changes that impact our students. Our International Student Specialist team is available to support U of A students with immigration concerns and questions about study permit applications. 

The U of A remains committed to welcoming international students to the university and to the province. In Shape, we announced a goal to increase our enrolment to 60,000 by 2030, and international student enrolment growth is needed to meet this goal. I’m glad that we have been able to work with both federal and provincial governments to advocate for what is best for our students and our university.

I would like to thank the many staff who have worked — and continue to work — diligently to support our international students. I also want to thank our students for their patience and composure as we navigate these changes together.

Verna Yiu
Provost and Vice-President (Academic)