In a significant policy shift, the Canadian government has announced a new strategy to regulate the influx of international students.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller unveiled a comprehensive plan that includes a substantial reduction in student permits and stricter regulations on private colleges.
This move, aiming to address both the exploitation of international students and the impact on the housing market, has sparked a range of reactions from various stakeholders.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the policy changes, their implications, and the diverse perspectives surrounding this pivotal decision
Canada Place Cap on an international students study permit
Overview of the New Policy
Immigration Minister Marc Miller revealed the federal government’s plan to limit the number of students permits to 360,000 for 2024, marking a 35% reduction from the previous year.. This decision, aiming to target institutional “bad actors,” also addresses concerns about the effect of international students on the housing market.
Distribution Across Provinces and Territories
The permits will be proportionally distributed across provinces and territories based on population. Notably, provinces experiencing unsustainable growth in international student populations will see more significant reductions, with some areas expecting a 50% decrease.
Provincial Autonomy in Permit Allocation
Provinces and territories can allocate these permits among their universities and colleges. This cap is set for two years, with reassessment planned for the end of this year for 2025 permits.
Targeting Misconduct in Private Colleges
The government is specifically targeting small private colleges accused of exploiting international students. Miller highlighted issues like inadequate resources, high tuition fees, and questionable degree programs..
New Requirements for International Students
Starting in September, international students enrolled in programs under curriculum licensing arrangements will be ineligible for post-graduation work permits. Additionally, graduates from master’s and other short graduate programs will soon be eligible for three-year work permits, and open work permits will be available for spouses of students in master’s and doctoral programs.
Broader Implications and Government’s Stance
These measures follow earlier announcements targeting what Miller described as “the diploma equivalent of puppy mills.” The federal government, usually deferring to provincial jurisdiction in education matters, has stepped in, hoping to correct perceived mismanagement.
Impact on Housing Market
Assistant Professor Mike Moffatt from Ivey Business School and a senior director at the Smart Prosperity Institute indicated that the surge in international students has significantly impacted various housing markets, affecting rental and ownership segments.
Reactions and Statements
- Housing Minister Sean Fraser: Emphasized the continued focus on increasing housing construction, expecting some relief in student-heavy communities.
- Opposition Response: Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre criticized the Trudeau government for mismanagement, while NDP critic Jenny Kwan expressed concerns about the potential negative impact on talented students.
- Provincial Reactions: Ontario and Nova Scotia’s education departments acknowledged the need for collaborative efforts to address the issue and ensure quality education aligned with labour market needs.