Canadians Worried Over International Student Influx & Housing Crisis, Survey Shows

Canada North America Higher Education News International Studies Statistics by Erudera News Apr 23, 2024

Building in Ontario, Canada

A new survey has revealed that more than half of Canadians believe Canada welcomes too many international students, worsening the housing crisis.

According to the “International Students, Understanding Canada Opinions” survey of 1,500 random Canadian adults, which was conducted by Navigator, 58 percent of Canadians believe many international students are enrolled at Canadian universities. This is a 9 percent increase from last year.

66 percent of them said Canada cannot deal with the recent surge in immigrants, including the high number of international students, reports.

While 52 percent of participants support the idea of imposing a cap on the number of international students, 51 percent advocate for exemptions for students enrolled in specific programs such as healthcare, agriculture, or science.

Commenting on the findings, Saint John Newcomers Centre managing director Mohamed Bagha said the survey does not highlight the benefits that international students bring to their communities and their contribution to addressing labor shortages, among other things.

“Our region has been one of the last regions to grow in Canada. And today it is growing because of newcomers to Canada, including international students,” Bagha said.

Furthermore, 61 percent of Canadians responding to the survey said the influx of international students is linked to financial mismanagement within post-secondary institutions.

Earlier this year, Canada announced a two-year cap on the number of international student permits. Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, said that would result in 364,000 new approved permits in 2024, a 35 percent decrease from a year earlier.

“Today, we are announcing additional measures to protect a system that has become so lucrative that it has opened a path for its abuse. Enough is enough. Through the decisive measures announced today, we are striking the right balance for Canada and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system while setting students up for the success they hope for,” Miller said in a statement released on January 22.

The number of international students in Canada increased to over one million in 2023, up 29 percent from 2022. The majority of these students hailed from India (427,085), followed by China (101,150), the Philippines (48,870), and Nigeria (45,965).

In 2022, there were 804,370 international students in the country. The number of international students in Canada dropped between 2019 and 2020 amid the pandemic, from 637,780 to 527,195, respectively. It started to increase again in 2021, totaling 616,585.

According to the Canadian government, international students contribute about $16.4 billion to the Canadian economy.

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