Canadian government announces two-year cap on student visas

This decision of the Canadian federal government will have a big impact on Indian students.

Montreal: In an effort to curb the impact of international students on housing and target institutional “bad actors,” Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced a cap on the number of student visas to be granted over the next two years, CBC News, Canada’s publicly owned news service, reported.

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For 2024, the federal government aims to approve 3,60,000 undergraduate study permits, reducing the number by 35 per cent from 2023.

This decision of the Canadian federal government will have a big impact on Indian students. Notably, Indians constitute the largest group of international students in Canada, receiving over 41 per cent of permits in 2022. According to current estimates, more than 3,00,000 Indian students went to Canada in 2023, as reported by CBC News.

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In Canada, now provinces and territories will be allocated a portion of the total permits, distributed by population, leading to “much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth.”

Each region will decide how permits are distributed across universities and colleges. The cap will be in place for two years, with a reassessment of the number of Canadian student visas to be issued in 2025.

Miller emphasised concerns about certain private institutions taking advantage of international students, operating under-resourced campuses, lacking student support, charging high tuition fees, and significantly increasing their intake of international students.

“It’s unacceptable that some private institutions have taken advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses, lacking supports for students and charging high tuition fees all the while significantly increasing their intake of international students,” Miller said

In addition to the cap, the federal government will require international students to provide an attestation letter from a province or territory when applying for a permit, according to CBC.

“To be absolutely clear, these measures are not against individual international students,” Miller said, adding, “They are to ensure that as future students arrive in Canada, they receive the quality of education that they signed up for and the hope that they were provided in their home countries.”

Changes to the post-graduation work permit programme were also announced by Miller.

Starting in September, international students in programmes under a curriculum licencing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit. Graduates of master’s and other “short graduate-level programmes” will soon be able to apply for a three-year work permit.

Open work permits will only be available to the spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programmes. These measures follow previous announcements by Miller, targeting what he referred to as “the diploma equivalent of puppy mills,” CBC News reported.

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