BorderPass and ApplyBoard have developed new screening platforms to help institutions better understand an applicant’s chances of approval for a study permit before issuing them a Letter of Acceptance including a Provincial Attestation Letter.  

“[The platform] provides accurate assessments of applicants’ chances for successful immigration and employment outcomes, helping to avoid unnecessary expenses and ensuring only the most qualified applicants are issued a PAL,” Jonathan Sherman, head of sales and partnerships at BorderPass, told The PIE.

The tool, named the BorderPass Eligibility Assessment, considers an applicant’s chance of approval for a study permit based on inputs such as financial stability, visa history, and other proprietary risk factors identified under the guidance of lawyers and immigration experts.  

After assessing eligibility, BorderPass continues to support students by filing their study permits with lawyers and providing legal support, pathway guidance and compliance throughout their degree program.

A similar program has been developed by ApplyBoard that uses machine learning to provide insight and guidance to institutions, ranking the applications they receive based on student profiles and attributes to determine the likelihood of visa success, Scott Harper, ApplyBoard chief recruitment officer told The PIE.   

“We’re still hearing from a number of institutions that diversity is important. So, this tool allows institutions to continue to diversify but also maximise attestation letter conversion.   

“One of the benefits that we have is the visibility of multiple applications for each student. For years, we have relied on a machine learning algorithm internally to help identity the most likely application to convert in addition to capturing student preference.

Our application ranking, shared with institutions, will provide visibility into our understanding of student preference across multiple applications in addition to probability of visa success

“For instance, if a student has paid a tuition deposit for one application, the application’s ranking towards other institutions will be immediately updated,” said Harper.    

Institutions began drawing up rubrics and using new tech solutions from the likes of ApplyBoard and BorderPass to manage their internal admissions processes under the stringent requirements imposed by Canada’s cap on international study visas.

“Admissions and recruitment will be working diligently with our agency partners to determine the likely success of students being approved for study permits and to ensure that only genuine students with clear study plans and means are getting PALs,” one reader at a public college said anonymously to The PIE News

Several institutions in Ontario including Centennial College are already using BorderPass’s new technology to maximise their conversion rate on the number of letters of acceptance issued that result in study permits. 

“We are able to process applications from all countries not just the ones that have high conversion because BorderPass reviews each application.  We do not want to lose the diversity we have built nor do we want to leave any student behind,” said Virginia Macchiavello, vice president for international development at Centennial College.

“We do not want to lose the diversity we have built nor do we want to leave any student behind”

Ontario announced on March 27 that it would give 96% of its allocated study permit applications to public colleges and universities, with language schools, private universities and unspecified “other institutions” receiving the remaining 4% share.  

Private institutions were appalled by the news and will be looking to ensure that every PAL issued results in an approved study visa. 

The IRCC said on January 22 that PALs would be required for new study permits, which act as proof that the student has been accounted for under each territory’s allocation limit.  

The government only has the power to limit the number of applications processed by the IRCC, not the number of study visas approved. Allocations sent to the provinces were based on past approval ratings and estimations that approximately 60% of applications would result in new study permits.  

British Columbia has confirmed that 53% of its 83,000 allocation will go to public post-secondary institutions, with the remaining 47% for private institutions. 

Provinces and territories have been told to have a plan in place for issuing of PALs by the end of March 2024.  

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