Immigration Minister Marc Miller has announced measures to reduce the intake of international students by 35% over the next two years. These measures are temporary and will be implemented over the course of two years.
The cap for 2024 is set at 364,000 approved study permits, a 35% decrease from 2023.
This cap does not apply to students at the postgraduate research level, including master’s and doctoral students. Exemptions also apply to students seeking study permits at the elementary and high school levels.
The cap will vary across provinces, with allocations based on population size to ensure fairness. Provinces experiencing unsustainable growth in international student numbers will see significant reductions.
The federal government will collaborate with provinces and territories to issue accreditation letters. Future students applying for study permits in Canada will be required to provide these letters from the relevant province or territory.
Starting from Monday (01/22), future students applying for study permits in Canada will need to provide accreditation letters from the relevant province or territory. The federal government will request each province and territory in Canada to establish an accreditation letter issuance process.
Miller stated that the government will consider the specific labor needs of each province and territory.
WHAT HAPPENS TO WORK PERMITS
The government has also announced major changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. This program allows international students to work in Canada after completing their degrees.
Miller said, “As of September 1, work permits after graduation will no longer be issued for mixed-mode (part public, part private) school models.”
He added that “in the coming weeks, we will announce that open work permits will only be allowed and reserved for spouses/partners of international students studying master’s and doctoral programs, as well as professional programs like medicine and law.”
He stated, “Spouses of international students studying other education levels, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible.”
This cap follows the previously announced caps by the federal government, including doubling the financial requirements for international students to obtain study permits.
The increased financial requirements will raise the amount applicants need to have in their bank accounts from $10,000 to $20,635 by 2024, in addition to tuition fees.
International students already in Canada, as well as those who applied for study permits after December 7, 2023, will be able to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week until April 2024.
Federal Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre sees this cap as an acknowledgment that the immigration system is broken, while expressing concerns about international students attending pseudo-universities.
Canadian universities have expressed concerns about this cap, fearing it may add more stress to an already strained system and may impact processing times, potentially causing students to choose other countries for their studies.