2024: Canada’s New Cap on Admissions for International Students
In an effort to address the challenges coming from the rapid increase in international student numbers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced temporary measures to stabilize the growth of international students in Canada. In 2022, Canada admitted over 800,000 international students and the minister projected that that number would rise to over 900,000 in the following year. The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, revealed that the government will set an intake cap on international student permit applications for a two-year period, starting in 2024. This move is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, marking a 35% decrease from the previous year.
Here are the key points of the temporary measures:
Cap on International Student Permits:
- The cap is introduced to address concerns about the integrity of the international student system.
- The cap for 2024 is set at 360,000 approved study permits, with individual provincial and territorial caps weighted by population.
- Provinces with unsustainable growth in international student populations will experience more significant decreases.
Study Permit Renewals and Exceptions:
- The caps will not impact current study permit holders or renewals.
- Students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as those in elementary and secondary education, are exempt from the cap.
Attestation Letter Requirement:
- Effective January 22, 2024, every study permit application must include an attestation letter from a province or territory.
- Provinces and territories are expected to establish a process for issuing these letters by March 31, 2024.
Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Changes:
- Starting September 1, 2024, students in curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer be eligible for the PGWP.
- Graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will now be eligible for a 3-year work permit, addressing limitations on work experience.
Open Work Permits for Spouses:
- Open work permits for spouses of international students will be limited to those in master’s and doctoral programs.
- Spouses of students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible.
- The government plans to reassess the cap in 2025.
- Collaborative efforts with provinces, territories, and education stakeholders will continue to develop a sustainable path forward for international students.
These temporary measures complement recent reforms to the International Student Program, including increased cost-of-living requirements and enhanced verification processes. The government is committed to providing clear pathways to permanent residence for students with in-demand skills and exploring additional measures to facilitate the transition of international students into the Canadian labour force. The overall objective is to ensure a balanced and sustainable approach to the international student population, safeguarding the integrity of the system and addressing challenges in housing, healthcare, and other services.