Canadian Govt Considers Limiting International Student Numbers Amid Housing Pressure

Canada North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Aug 23, 2023

Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser

The increasing number of international students in Canada is putting pressure on the housing market, and as a solution to the crisis, the government said it may have to impose a cap on the number of students.

Canada’s new housing minister Sean Fraser, who previously served as immigration minister, told reporters this week that limiting student numbers is one of the options that might be considered.

“I think that is one of the options that we ought to consider but I think we should start by trying to partner with institutions to understand what role they may play to reduce the pressure on the communities that they are operating within,” he said.

Nonetheless, he said the government has not made a decision on the matter yet, reports.

According to a survey of 21,000 students from more than 100 countries conducted by higher education specialists IDP Education earlier this year, Canada is the most popular country for international students. About 27 percent of respondents listed it as their first choice.

Canada was closely followed by Australia among survey respondents, with 23 percent of students saying they prefer to study in the country. The US was third, with 21 percent of respondents placing it as their first choice to study.

Government data revealed there were more than 800,000 international students at Canadian universities in 2022, an increase of nearly a third in one year. In 2021, there were 617,250 international students in Canada, up from 527,365 a year earlier.

Last year, most new permits (52 percent) were issued to students in Ontario, followed by 19 percent in British Columbia. Among the 800,000 international students, the largest group is from India, followed by China and the Philippines.

International students contribute over $22 billion to the Canadian economy every year, more than auto parts, lumber, or aircraft exports, the government said.

“International graduates are also a source of key talent to help support Canada’s future economic growth and counteract the country’s aging demographic,” the government noted in a statement on March 3, 2022.

During a cabinet retreat on Prince Edward Island on August 21-23, Minister Fraser asserted the country has hit a housing crisis, particularly when it comes to families living with severe housing difficulties.

Critics of the government have recalled the statements of the Canadian prime minister which he made earlier this year, saying housing is not the main responsibility but insisting the government will continue to take steps in this regard.

>> Canada: Nearly 116% Increase in Study Permits Issued in Three Years

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