Knock, knock. Who’s coming to Canada?

Canada imposes 2-year visa cap on international studehts

Only 364,000 undergraduate students would be admitted to Canada over the next two years. The Canadian government has placed a 2-year cap on international student visas.

With a stated goal of targeting institutional “bad actors” — and amid concern about the impact growing numbers of international students are having on the housing market — Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced that the federal government would cap the number of student permits over the next two years.

The government says it will approve approximately 364,000 undergraduate study permits for 2024 — a 35 per cent reduction from 2023.

Each province and territory will be allotted a portion of the total, distributed according to population. The federal government says this will result in “much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth.”

In some provinces, Miller said, the total permit reduction will be approximately 50 per cent.

Provinces and territories will be left to decide how permits are distributed among universities and colleges in their jurisdictions.

Miller said that by imposing the cap, the federal government is taking action against some small private colleges.

“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 an interview with the CBC’s Power & Politics, Miller spoke of “degree-granting institutions that are giving fake business degrees” to students who hope to stay in Canada. The minister said there could be “hundreds” of such schools operating in Canada and that the number has “exploded in the last couple years.”

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.

To be clear, these measures are not against individual international students,” Miller said. “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.”

Miller also announced changes to the post-graduation work permit program.

Starting in September, international students who begin a program that’s part of a curriculum licensing arrangement (one where a private college has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college) will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit.

Graduates of master’s and other “short graduate-level programs” will “soon” be able to apply for a three-year work permit, the government says. Open work permits will also be made available to the spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.

The changes announced Monday come a little over a month after Miller first announced measures intended to target what the minister described as “the diploma equivalent of puppy mills.

We’ve got two years to get the ship in order,” Miller said Monday. “It’s a bit of a mess and it’s time to rein it in.”

Miller suggested the federal government would have preferred for provincial governments to take action — post-secondary education is a provincial responsibility in Canada. And while the new federal rules may be primarily aimed at some private colleges, the changes might also renew concerns about the level of public funding provided by provincial governments to universities and colleges.

But the other concern hanging over Monday’s announcement is the availability of affordable housing.



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