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Canada to cap the number of international study permits by 35 per cent: Miller

BY The Canadian Press, Jan 22, 2024 3:05 PM - REPORT AN ERROR

Students applying to masters and PhD programs will be exempt from the cap. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Canada will reduce the number of international student permits by 35 per cent next year as part of a temporary two-year cap on foreign enrollment, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced Monday morning.

The cap will cut the number of approved study permits in 2024 to 364,000. The 2025 limit will be reassessed at the end of this year.

He said the move would allow them to address institutions and “bad actors” who are charging exorbitantly high tuition fees for international students, all while increasing the number of international students they are accepting.

Students applying to masters and PhD programs will be exempt from the cap.

“Those are the bright people we need to retain,” Miller said.

He added that they would be allocating cap space by province based on population, meaning some provinces will see a sharper reduction in the number of international students permitted.

The federal government has faced pressure from provinces regarding the increasing numbers of non-permanent residents entering Canada while the country struggles with a housing crisis.

More than 800,000 international students were issued temporary study visas in 2022. Miller said last fall that 2023's numbers were on track to be more than triple the number accepted 10 years ago.

Miller stressed in his comments Monday that this cap is not intended to punish international students, who are “a valuable asset to this country,” but to ensure their experience and education is up to snuff. He added that it was “unacceptable that some private institutions” have “taken advantage” of international students by jacking up tuition prices.

Those institutions need to be shut down,” he said.

He added that post-secondary institutions have been “underfunded by our provinces” in many regions, potentially incentivizing institutions to charge higher tuition fees for international students since they have less leeway to increase tuition for domestic students.

The idea of a cap on the number of international students has been floated for months. Miller has previously noted that a cap would not be a “one-size-fits-all solution” to housing shortages, as inflation, a lack of public housing and barriers to new construction are all factors impacting the shortage as well.

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