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Canada sets two-year cap on international student permits

The Canadian government has announced a two-year cap on new study permits for international students, which is expected to result in approximately 3,60,000 approved study permits this year — a 35 per cent reduction from 2023.

Asserting that international students enrich their communities, Immigration Minister Marc Miller made the announcement on Monday as the government faced backlash after their growing influx in recent years exacerbated the country’s housing crisis.

“I announced a two-year cap on new study permits starting in 2024. This is expected to result in approx 360,000 approved study permits this year, and will be allocated to provinces and territories to distribute among their DLIs (Designated learning institutions),” Miller wrote on X.

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The development came as the number of international students in Canada crossed one million mark, with Indians leading the pack, accounting for 215,190 out of the 579,075 permits issued till November 2023.

Miller stated that to ensure the integrity of the programme and uphold the academic experience, Canada will continue to implement reforms, and the number of permits to be issued in 2025 will be reassessed at the end of this year.

Miller said that by imposing the cap, the government is taking action against some small private colleges taking advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses and charging high tuition fees.

The minister further said that from September, Canada will no longer issue post-graduate work permits (PGWPs) to students studying under curriculum licensing arrangements.

“These programmes are notorious for lacking oversight and do not provide the quality academic experience that Canada is renowned for,” Miller said.

In the coming weeks, the country will no longer issue work permits to spouses of international students, apart from those in master’s and doctoral programmes, the minister added.

Earlier, it was announced that from this year, students will have to show at least in their CA$20,635 account on top of their one-year tuition fees, and if they bring one family member, they will need to show an additional CA$4,000.

To get a study visa to Canada, a student currently needs to show $10,000 in his or her account to cover the initial cost of living. International students contribute about CA$22 billion ($16.4 billion) annually to the Canadian economy.

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