Canada to cap international student permits by one-third

Minister says the government will also restrict foreign students' eligibility to receive work permits, crack down on sham institutions

By AFP

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Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller. — Reuters file
Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller. — Reuters file

Published: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 8:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Jan 2024, 8:43 PM

Canada will temporarily cap new international student permits by one-third this year compared to 2023, the country's immigration minister announced on Monday.

The measure is aimed in part at easing soaring demand for housing and social services, with the number of international students set to triple from a decade ago.

Under the cap approximately 364,000 international students are expected to receive study permits this year, or a 35 per cent net decrease from 2023. The 2025 limit will be assessed at the end of the year.

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The cap is meant to "improve programme integrity, set international students up for success, (and) to maintain a sustainable level of temporary residence in Canada," Immigration Minister Marc Miller told a news conference in Montreal.

"It would be a disserve to welcome international students in Canada knowing not all of them are getting the resources they need to succeed and having them return home disillusioned and disappointed in Canada's education system," he added.

The cap will not apply to master's and doctoral students, nor elementary and secondary school students.

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Miller said the government will also restrict foreign students' eligibility to receive work permits and crack down on private colleges and sham institutions that charge international students high tuition fees but provide poor or no education at all.

This practice, he said, "is unacceptable".

"It is not the intention of this programme to have sham commerce degrees and business degrees" that allow people to come into the country "and drive an Uber," he said.

Speaking more broadly about Canada's study permit system, Miller said that "it's a bit of a mess, and it's time to rein it in".


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