Canada to Cut Int’l Student Numbers in Overcrowded Provinces

Canada North America Higher Education News International Studies by Erudera News Jan 22, 2024

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Canada is planning to reduce the number of international students in provinces facing accommodation shortages, media reports say.

The news was made public by a government official, who told Radio Canada that the government will consider provinces that accept more international students than their capacity to accommodate.

According to the source, Ontario, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia are the three provinces where such a change might be made.

The official also said that the government already held talks with the provinces, requiring the latter to reduce the number of international students in overcrowded areas and impose stricter rules at institutions admitting these students. Nonetheless, the discussion has not yet led to a resolution.

According to a message from Universities Canada, the organization representing Canadian universities, the federal government will provide a fixed number of study permits for international students, and each province will be responsible for how the places will be allocated.

“The number of international student study permits is still undetermined, but IRCC indicated they will aim for a return to more sustainable levels, possibly rolling back international student numbers to where they were at least two years ago,” an internal letter from Universities Canada seen by the Star, reads.

The letter states that this change is a “two-year stopgap measure” until the government can fully implement the recognized institution regime, so the quota will no longer be necessary.

As of January this year, the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) increased the cost-of-living financial requirement for new international students to $20,635, meaning this is now the amount of money students must have before studying in Canada.

Previously, international students were required to prove they had $10,000 in a year to support themselves in Canada. This requirement has not changed since the early 2000s.

“The cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000 for a single applicant. As such, the financial requirement hasn’t kept up with the cost of living over time, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that their funds aren’t adequate,” IRCC said.

Last year, the number of international students with study permits in Canada exceeded one million, official figures have revealed.

According to data, this number is up from 527,365 in 2020, 617,250 in 2021, and over 800,000 in 2022. Previously, the government estimated more than 900,000 international students in Canada in 2023.

In November, the government announced a fixed goal of 500,000 new permanent residents in 2026, following recent increases in immigration targets.

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