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Canada aims to maintain economic stability by moderating growth and adjusting the issuance of new international student permits to around 360,000 for the year 2024.

student permits to around 360,000

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Press Statement

January 22, 2024—Ottawa—Canada recognizes the invaluable contributions of international students to our communities, playing a vital role in the country’s social, cultural, and economic fabric. However, recent challenges to the integrity of the international student system have emerged. Some institutions have excessively increased enrolments for financial gains, leading to an influx of students without adequate support. This surge has also strained housing, healthcare, and other essential services. In response, the Government of Canada, under the leadership of the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, is taking decisive steps to safeguard international students and manage sustainable population growth.

To address these issues, the government will implement a two-year cap on new international student permit applications, aiming for approximately 360,000 approvals in 2024—a 35% reduction from 2023. Provincial and territorial caps, proportionate to population size, will be established to address unsustainable growth. The cap excludes renewals, master’s and doctoral programs, and elementary and secondary education, ensuring minimal impact on current permit holders.

To enforce the cap, every study permit application submitted to IRCC from January 22, 2024, onward will require an attestation letter from the relevant province or territory. The allocation within each province and territory will be distributed to designated learning institutions. These measures are temporary and will be reassessed in 2025, allowing ongoing collaboration with provinces, territories, and educational stakeholders to determine sustainable levels and develop a recognized institution framework.

In alignment with these changes, the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program eligibility criteria will be adjusted, effective September 1, 2024. Students in curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer be eligible for post-graduation work permits, addressing concerns about oversight. Master’s and other short graduate-level program graduates will have the opportunity to apply for a 3-year work permit, providing enhanced opportunities for gaining work experience and potential transition to permanent residence.

Furthermore, open work permits will be limited to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs, enhancing support for families. These measures complement recent reforms to the International Student Program, collectively aiming to prioritize genuine students, enrich their study experiences, and concurrently stabilize the overall number of arrivals, alleviating pressures on Canadian services.


“International students are vital to Canada and enrich our communities. As such, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the resources they need for an enriching academic experience. In Canada, today, this isn’t always the case. 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.”

– The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Key Points

In the upcoming months, our focus will remain on creating clear pathways to permanent residence for students possessing in-demand skills, while also exploring innovative measures to facilitate the seamless transition of international students into the labor force.

Recent initiatives from our department aim to enhance the effectiveness of the International Student Program for both incoming students and the broader Canadian community. These include:

  1. As of January 1, 2024, an updated cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants, ensuring a more accurate reflection of the actual living expenses in Canada. This adjustment aims to mitigate student vulnerability and reduce the risk of exploitation.
  2. Since December 1, 2023, post-secondary designated learning institutions are mandated to directly confirm every letter of acceptance from applicants outside Canada with IRCC. This strengthened verification process safeguards prospective students from fraud, ensuring that study permits are issued based solely on authentic letters of acceptance.
  3. In 2024, we are set to launch targeted pilot programs designed to assist underrepresented groups of international students in pursuing their studies in Canada. These initiatives aim to foster inclusivity and accessibility within the international student community.

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