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Canada will welcome 35% less students as a cap on study permits comes into effect

Pressure on housing, healthcare and institutions are just some of the reasons Canada has decided to cap international student intake.

In 2024, Canada will cap the amount of approved study permits to just 360,000 – a 35% loss from 2023. This cap is a temporary measure for the next two years.

At a press conference on Monday, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC), Marc Miller said that ‘some private institutions have taken advantage of international students.’ Miller noted that schools were ‘significantly increasing their intake’ and charging high tuition fees while lacking adequate support for students.

The government will reassess the number of allocated study permits for 2025 at the end of this year.

Colleges and Institutions Canada (CICan) have welcomed efforts by IRCC to address challenges in the sector, but warn there could be ‘far-reaching’ consequences:

‘We are concerned about the potential ramifications this decrease – and its rollout – will have on current and prospective international students, Canadians, their communities, and the country […] including the possibility of layoffs, closures and increased tuition fees – all of which will inevitably affect both Canadian and international students.’

Others, such as student immigration consultant, Earl Blaney, say the move is overdue:

‘Industry lobbyist and corporate interests have put the federal government in a place where it is no longer tenable to ignore the mess that has been created […] the damage that has been done to international students and the industry should not be easily forgotten.’

In an official statement from IRCC, Marc Miller said Canada has an ‘obligation’ to ensure international students receive an enriching experience:

‘Today, we are announcing additional measures to protect a system that has become so lucrative that it has opened a path for its abuse. Enough is enough. Through the decisive measures announced today, we are striking the right balance for Canada and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system while setting students up for the success they hope for.’

Image courtesy of Chris DeSort
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