Canada Announces International Student Cap

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today (Jan 22, 2024) that the Government of Canada will:

  • Add a cap on the number of students in the years 2024 and 2025
  • Change Spousal Open Work Permit eligibility
  • Stop issuing Postgraduate work permits to private colleges offering public college curriculum

Why was cap announced?

In the past few years, Canada has invited thousands of international students who have settled and contributed to Canada’s economy and workforce.

However, when comparing the number of international students and immigrants entering Canada against the country’s infrastructure, the numbers did not meet.

The inflow of human resources was great to meet the Canadian employment gap, and education was booming. However, there was not enough housing, health, transportation, and workforce infrastructure built to sustain the number of new students and immigrants coming into Canada.

In the year 2000, Canada invited 122000 students. The following year, those numbers increased drastically, reaching more than 900000 in 2023.

While Canada wants to continue inviting quality students to study there, the Canadian government also wants to ensure that students who arrive in Canada receive quality education and infrastructure.

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada made important announcements today to ensure that Canadian students continue striving for their career goals, quality education, sustainable infrastructure, and better opportunities in the future.

Add a cap on the number of students in the years 2024 and 2025

In 2024, approximately 360,000 study permits will be issued, which will decrease to 35%. In addition, the caps will differ for each territory and province based on their population and infrastructure to sustain the student population.  However, this cap will not impact the students studying in master’s, doctoral, elementary, and secondary school programs. The cap will be temporary for two years and will be revisited by the end of 2025.

To implement the cap, as of January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to IRCC will 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 March 31, 2024.

Change Spousal Open Work Permit eligibility.

Spousal work permits will no longer be issued to the spouses of individuals studying diploma or undergraduate programs in Canada at a college or university. Only the spouses of students studying master’s or doctoral programs in Canada will be eligible to apply for a spousal open work permit.

Stop issuing Postgraduate work permits to private colleges offering public college curriculum.

Starting September 1, 2024, International students who will study at private colleges that are part of the public college curriculum will no longer be eligible for the postgraduate work permit. To be eligible for the PGWP, the students should apply and study at public colleges or DLI universities in Canada.

While these announcements look too harsh and scary, the students who are already in Canada and study permit holders will not be impacted by changes in the cap. However, the SOWP eligibility changes, and students enrolled at PPP (Public Private Partnership) colleges for the September 2024 intake will be impacted by these changes.

During the announcement, Miller mentioned that “the cap was not to punish the international students but to make sure that they get the quality of education and life they come for.” These measures are also necessary to ensure that Canada continues to be known for the quality of education that students strive for and not just as a gateway to settle abroad.

While this is a sudden news, you might still have some doubts, or questions. If you need more clarity on the sutitaion, you can connect with us via below channels:

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Reference Links:

IRCC Canada