Canada sets limits on foreign student admissions for 2 years

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Canada implements a two-year cap on foreign students amid housing and healthcare challenges.

CANADA, Jan 23: In response to mounting challenges in housing and healthcare, Canada has declared a two-year cap on the admission of foreign students. The move aims to ease pressure on the nation’s resources and maintain the integrity of its systems. The cap is anticipated to result in a 35% reduction in approved study permits.

In 2022, Canada hosted over 800,000 foreign students, a substantial increase from 214,000 a decade earlier. Immigration Minister Marc Miller disclosed the cap on Monday, stating that the goal for this year is to approve approximately 360,000 undergraduate study permits. The distribution of permits across provinces and territories will be based on population and current student intake, with individual regions deciding how to allocate them among their universities and colleges.

The cap specifically targets students enrolled in diploma or undergraduate programs and will not affect those applying for study permit renewals. Additionally, starting in September, work permits will no longer be granted to students graduating from colleges operating under a public-private partnership model, prevalent in Ontario.

Miller emphasized that these measures are not aimed at individual international students but are designed to ensure that future students receive the quality of education they signed up for. The announcement coincides with growing concerns over the affordability of housing in Canada, with home prices averaging C$750,000 and a 22% rise in rent for Canadians over the past two years.

The unprecedented population growth in Canada, with over a million new residents in 2022 alone, is considered a factor contributing to housing challenges. The cap on foreign students reflects a significant policy shift for Canada, traditionally known for its open immigration policies to address workforce needs.

While Universities Canada welcomed the exclusion of post-graduate students from the cap, concerns were raised about potential stress on an already-strained system and the possibility of deterring students from choosing Canada for their studies. Some university leaders expressed worry about the financial implications, as tuition from international students often helps offset costs for domestic students. The impact of the cap on Canada’s education landscape and housing market is a topic of ongoing discussion and concern among stakeholders.

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