According to the latest news British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia might face restrictions on the number of international students admitted to their colleges and universities. This two-year cap, will cause a 35% drop in study permits, says The Globe and Mail.
International Students to Face a 35% Reduction in Study Permits
Marc Miller is set to impose a two-year cap on international students in Canada, anticipating a notable reduction of more than a third in the number of study permits. Miller emphasized the fairness of this cap allocation, stating, “The cap is expected to result in approximately 364,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35 percent from 2023. We are also allocating the cap space by province, based on population.”
The proposed cap will limit each province and territory’s capacity to welcome new international students. The potential impact is varied, with some provinces expected to witness an increase in their international student population while others, notably Ontario, face a significant reduction.
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What is the Reason?
Concerns over housing inadequacy for temporary residents, compounded by rising interest rates and affordability issues in the post-COVID era, prompted Immigration Minister Marc Miller to contemplate caps on international student numbers. The government is intensifying scrutiny over the influx of international students and temporary residents, suspecting a link to the country’s housing crisis.
Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026: An Overview
Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 aims to welcome 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024, followed by an additional 500,000 in 2025. The plan holds steady at 500,000 newcomers in 2026, totaling 1.485 million immigrants over the three years. However, concerns about the management of immigration levels have been raised, even by senior economists from major Canadian banks.
Addressing Housing and International Student Surge
In response to the housing crisis and the surge in international students, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has taken steps to manage the situation. Instead of explicitly capping international student numbers, the government has raised the financial requirements for study visas. Applicants are now required to demonstrate access to $20,635.
A Look at IRCC’s Perspective and Measures
Minister Marc Miller emphasized the broader benefits international students bring to Canada, acknowledging the challenges they face. The adjustment in the cost-of-living threshold aims to provide a realistic estimate for students. Additionally, efforts are underway to explore housing options for international students.
International Students in Canada
While in Canada, international students can work on campus without a permit, provided they meet specific criteria. This involves possessing a valid study permit, being enrolled as a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution, and obtaining a Social Insurance Number. With the education and work experience gained, many students apply for permanent residence through programs like the Express Entry’s Canada Experience Class Program (CEC).
Balancing Act: The Immigration Strategy
Miller defended the government’s immigration strategy, highlighting its necessity in sustaining a growing labor force as Canada’s population ages. He emphasized that issues involving international students on temporary visas fall under provincial jurisdiction.
President of the International Students Association at Université de Moncton, Jovial Orlachi Osundu, expressed concern about blaming international students for the housing crisis, highlighting its potentially discouraging effect on prospective students.
Miller, while acknowledging the federal government’s role in intervening within the housing market, called for provincial receptiveness to change. He expressed readiness to collaborate with provinces, emphasizing that the federal government is prepared to take action like imposing a cap on international students if necessary.
Recognizing the challenges, the Canadian government is actively working on initiatives to streamline immigration processes. These include reducing backlogs for the Start-Up Visa program, ensuring two-week processing for the Global Skills Strategy, and exploring options to attract digital nomads. As Canada adapts to evolving realities in immigration and education, international students play a crucial role in the nation’s growth. The introduction of caps on international students in Canada while addressing immediate concerns, underscores the need for a comprehensive and sustainable approach.