Immigration Minister Indicates Possibility of Further Restrictions on International Students

Canada North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Apr 06, 2024

Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller

The Canadian government has not excluded the idea of imposing new restrictions on international student numbers as part of its efforts to address the country's housing crisis. This is what Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller has hinted in an announcement this week.

According to him, if the housing crisis is not solved, the current limit on the number of international students who can study in Canada could be expanded. However, during the announcement in Halifax, Miller said he knows how he wants it to happen, and ideally, in two years, there won’t be a need for any changes, Global News reports.

He made these comments following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's statements during a stop in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, on Tuesday, April 2, who said that it is necessary to control the number of temporary immigrants and international students in the country.

Trudeau said that Canada has struggled to manage both the number of international students and temporary foreign workers, which have increased significantly, surpassing the country’s capacity to absorb.

“To give an example, in 2017, two per cent of Canada’s population was made up of temporary immigrants. Now we’re at 7.5 per cent of our population comprised of temporary immigrants,” he said.

Canada, widely known as one of the top study abroad destinations, became home to more than one million international students last year. That was an increase of 29 percent over the previous year when the country welcomed more than 800,000 international students.

Official data indicate that the number of international students in Canada increased by 63 percent in 2023 compared to five years ago and by more than 200 percent in ten years.

To address the rapid increase in international student numbers, Miller announced a cap on international student visas to Canada in January. He set the cap at 360,000 approved study permits for 2024, which is a 35 percent drop from last year.

“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,” Miller said on January 22, announcing the decision to decrease new international student permits.

This year, Canada has also doubled the cost-of-living requirement for international students, meaning the latter now have to show they have at least $20,635 instead of the $10,000 requirement in place for more than 20 years.

Erudera News has previously reported the reactions among students and the sector triggered by these adjustments. According to what some have said, the decision will make it harder for students who have already made plans to study in Canada.

Image source: Official Twitter account of Immigration Minister Marc Miller, posted on August 3, 2023

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