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In a bid to tackle housing crisis, Canada caps International student intake to 3.6 lakh for 2024 – Times of India

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MUMBAI: As Canada continues to grapple with housing shortages and health-care issues, Marc Miller, Immigration Minister, announced an intake-cap for international students to stabilize population inflows, which will be in place for two years.
According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the country’s immigration agency, for 2024, the cap is expected to result in 3.60 lakh approved study permits, a decline of 35% from 2023. The number of new study permit applications that will be accepted in 2025 will be re-assessed at the end of the current calendar year.
This is the second recent measure introduced by the Canadian government in a bid to strike a right balance between international student inflow and the resultant stress on infrastructure. Earlier, it announced that from Jan 1, international students will need to double the amount of money in their bank accounts viz: Canadian dollars (CAD) 20,635 to be eligible for a Canadian study permit.
The number of international students in Canada has hit a little over 10 lakh as of Dec 2023. In 2022, for which country-wise data is available, Canada had admitted 5.5 lakh new students from 184 countries. India was by far the most significant source country, with 2.2 lakh new students, followed by China with 52,000 odd new students.
IRCC explains that current study permit holders will not be affected by the intake-cap nor will study permit renewals be impacted. Further, those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education will not be included in the cap.
Provincial and territorial caps have been set based on population – each such area will get a share of the intake cap from IRCC and will have the freedom to decide how to divide it among its approved educational institutions.
Immigration experts state that provisions where provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth such as Ontario, Nova Scotia and British Columbia are likely to be most impacted by the intake cap.
To implement the cap, as of January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to IRCC will also require an attestation letter from a province or territory. Provinces and territories are expected to establish a process for issuing attestation letters to students by no later than March 31, 2024.
A move that may impact international students who are in Canada with their spouse, is that in the weeks ahead, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs. The spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible.
Miller also announced restrictions to post-graduate work permits provided to foreign students, which in turn improve their scores and give them a better shot in securing permanent residency.
Starting Sept 1, 2024, international students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a post graduation work permit upon graduation.
Immigration experts say that several such programs have been misused – the object not being study, but obtaining a work permit. “It is not the intention of this program to have sham commerce degrees and business degrees” that allow people to come into the country “and drive an Uber,” said Miller.
IRCC explains that under curriculum licensing agreements, students physically attend a private college that has been licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college. These programs have seen significant growth in attracting international students in recent years, though they have less oversight than public colleges and they act as a loophole with regards to post-graduation work permit eligibility.
On the flip side, graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a three-year work permit. Under current criteria, the length of a post graduation work permit is based solely on the length of an individual’s study program, hindering those master’s graduates by limiting the amount of time they have to gain work experience and potentially transition to permanent residence.
“International students are vital to Canada and enrich our communities. As such, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the resources they need for an enriching academic experience. In Canada, today, this isn’t always the case. Today, we are announcing additional measures to protect a system that has become so lucrative that it has opened a path for its abuse. Enough is enough. Through the decisive measures announced today, we are striking the right balance for Canada and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system while setting students up for the success they hope for,” summed up Miller.

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