Canada Announces Reduction in International Student Admissions Following Application Decrease

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Canada is set to introduce significant changes to its policy on international students, signaling a departure from its previously open approach. The Government of Canada has announced plans to implement a two-year cap on study permits, alongside making work permits more challenging to obtain. This decision comes amidst growing international scrutiny of Canada’s study programs, which has already led to a decrease in applications.

Starting this September, there will be a 35% reduction in new study visas, as stated by Marc Miller, the minister of immigration. This reduction aims to maintain a sustainable level of temporary residents in the country. It is estimated that this will result in 364,000 study permits in 2024, marking a 35% decline from the previous year, with provinces like Ontario expected to experience even steeper drops.

Further changes include tighter regulations on the issuance of new visas. From September 1, private schools in partnership with public institutions will no longer be eligible for postgraduate work permits. Additionally, the eligibility for open work permits for spouses of students will be limited to those enrolled in master, doctoral, and certain professional programs.

These measures follow a period of increasing concerns over the exploitation and living conditions of international students in Canada, highlighted by instances of scams and students living in substandard conditions. The apprehension among prospective students is evident, with a noticeable 20% drop in high application growth as of September.

The recent initiatives represent Canada’s most restrictive approach yet, although they are not the first limits to be attempted. Just weeks ago, the immigration minister raised the minimum income limits for international students. It remains to be seen if Canada will adhere strictly to these new policies, considering its history of quietly relaxing such measures following their initial announcement.

This policy shift could have implications for various sectors in Canada, including real estate, as the presence and needs of international students often influence housing markets, especially in university towns and cities. The reduction in international students could potentially impact rental markets and real estate investments in these areas.

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