Canada Cap on International Student Visas to impact Indian Students in 2025

Canada Student Visa Cap
Canada Student Visa Cap

Canada will reduce the number of new international student permits by 35 per cent next year as part of a temporary two-year cap on foreign enrolment, Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced on January 22, 2024.

The cap is expected to result in 364,000 new approved permits in 2024. The 2025 limit on new applications will be reassessed at the end of this year. Nearly 560,000 such visas were issued last year.

Canada 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. While the reduction is 35 per cent overall in new study visas, some provinces such as Ontario could see reductions greater than 50 per cent. The cap will remain in place for two years.

Miller specified that provinces will be in charge of determining the distribution of the cap between schools in their region, and that the federal government would be working with provinces to refine the policy.

Students applying to graduate level programs such as masters and PhD programs will be exempt from the cap. “Those are the bright people we need to retain,” Miller said. Students at the elementary and secondary school level will also be exempt.

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.

“Canada has set an intake cap for international student permits at 364,000 for 2024, or a decrease of 35 per cent from last year. The move is aimed at quelling public anger at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government over a housing shortage.”

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.

Study permits are granted on a three year basis. Miller clarified that the cap will not apply to anyone already studying in Canada who is seeking to complete or extend their schooling.

Canada’s visa restriction decision will have a major impact on Indian students. Indian students constitute the largest group of international students in Canada, receiving over 41% of permits in 2022. According to current estimates, more than 3 million Indian students went to Canada in 2023.

The new proposals also set limits on issue of post-graduate work permits to overseas students. This is aimed at encouraging them to return to their countries. Earlier, these permits were seen as an easy way to get permanent residency in Canada. Now, those pursuing Master's or Post-Doctorate programmes will be eligible for a three-year work permit. Those admitted under a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for post-graduate work permits.

Open work permits will now be available only to spouses of overseas students pursuing Master's or doctoral programmes. The spouses of undergraduate and college students will no longer be eligible.

Student permit applications now require a new document - a letter of attestation from a Canadian province confirming its capacity to accommodate the applicant.

These caps have been put in place because of ongoing housing crisis in Canada. "This increase is also putting pressure on housing, healthcare and other services," Miller said, adding that fewer numbers would primarily help lower prices for rent.

Rapid population growth fueled by immigration has put pressure on services, like healthcare and education, and has helped drive up housing costs. These issues have weighed on Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's support, with polls showing he would lose an election if one were held now.


Courtesy: CTV News



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