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Canada Implements Measures to Stabilize International Student Growth

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Canada has long been a favored destination for international students, owing to its diverse and inclusive environment. However, recent trends have indicated a need for recalibration in the international student program to ensure sustainability and integrity. Addressing this, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has announced significant changes to the international student permit system for 2024.

The government is setting a cap on international student permit applications, aiming to stabilize growth. The cap, which will result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits for 2024, marks a decrease of 35% from the previous year. This move is designed to address issues such as strain on housing, healthcare, and other services, and ensure that students receive the necessary support to succeed.

Key changes include:

  1. Cap on New Study Permits: The cap will be allocated proportionally across provinces and territories. It aims to significantly reduce permits in regions with unsustainable growth rates. Study permit renewals and applicants for master’s, doctoral, and primary/secondary education are exempt from this cap.
  2. Attestation Letter Requirement: Starting January 22, 2024, every study permit application must include an attestation letter from a province or territory. This additional step is intended to further regulate the system.
  3. Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) Adjustments: Notable changes in PGWPP include:
    • As of September 1, 2024, students in curriculum licensing programs will no longer be eligible for PGWPP.
    • Master’s and short graduate-level program graduates will be eligible for a 3-year work permit.
    • Open work permits for spouses will be limited to those of master’s and doctoral students.

These measures are temporary, set for a two-year period, during which the government will assess and develop a long-term sustainable strategy for international students in Canada. This includes focusing on recognized institution frameworks, sustainable student levels, and adequate student housing provisions.

Minister Miller emphasized the importance of international students to Canada, stating, “We are committed to ensuring that they have access to the resources needed for a fulfilling academic experience. The measures we are implementing today are crucial for maintaining the integrity of our immigration system and setting students up for success.”

Quick Facts:

  • The government is also exploring clear pathways to permanent residence for students with in-demand skills.
  • Recent updates include a revised cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants and enhanced verification processes for letters of acceptance.

These reforms aim to balance the needs of international students with the sustainable growth of Canadian communities. Canada continues to welcome students worldwide, ensuring they have a rewarding study experience while maintaining the integrity and sustainability of the international student program.

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