Canada Announces Temporary Cap On International Student Admissions

Canada Announces Temporary Cap On International Student Admissions

The Canadian government has announced that it will set a cap on approved international student permits for the next two years.

The cap will result in a decrease of 35% in approved study permits and will take effect immediately. In 2023, around 560,000 study permits were issued.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller stated that Canada aims to approve around 360,000 undergraduate study permits this year.

Each province and territory will be allotted a portion of that total, determined by population and current student intake. Provinces and territories will be left to decide how permits are distributed among universities and colleges in their jurisdictions. 

The cap will be in place for two years and the number of permits to be issued in 2025 will be reassessed at the end of this year.

The cap will only apply to students at a diploma or undergraduate programme, and will not affect students applying for study permit renewals. Additionally, it exempts students pursuing master's and doctoral degrees. 

In addition to the cap, the federal government will also require international students applying for a permit to provide an attestation letter from a province or territory. This letter verifies the province's ability to accommodate the prospective student. 

The cap marks a significant departure in policy for Canada, which has historically relied on open immigration to fill job vacancies and address its rapidly ageing workforce.

Other Restrictions On International Students

In December, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) doubled the cost-of-living requirement for international students from CAD 10,000 to CAD 20,635. Citing rising inflation and financial challenges faced by many international students, the government claims this change aims to ensure students are better prepared for the actual cost of living in Canada.

The government is also making changes to the eligibility criteria of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. From 1 September 2024, international students with permits to study at privately owned institutions will no longer be eligible for postgraduate work permits.

Another change is that open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programmes. The spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programmes, will no longer be eligible.

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