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Over a million individuals currently possess a valid study permit for Canada

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As reported by The Globe and Mail, Canada’s international student community has surpassed one million, according to official data from Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). At the close of December, there were 1,028,850 international students in the country. Notably, Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec were the provinces with the highest numbers, hosting 526,015, 202,565, and 117,925 international students, respectively. These provinces also boast the largest counts of Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).

On January 14, CTV news reported that Immigration Minister Marc Miller linked the surge in international student numbers in Canada to the lenient Designated Learning Institution (DLI) model in certain provinces. He advised provincial governments to engage with DLIs to manage and control the influx.

In 2022, the international student count in Canada reached 807,260, and the minister had initially projected over 900,000 by the end of 2023. However, The Globe and Mail disclosed that this estimate was surpassed by September 2023, with 1,015,744 individuals holding valid Canadian study permits.

Considering concerns such as housing shortages and strain on healthcare, discussions about imposing a cap on study permits for international students have been ongoing since the summer. There’s mounting pressure on the federal government to address these issues. The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) emphasized that restricting intake is essential to fortify the integrity of Canada’s international student system. The department clarified that some institutions have expanded their international student intake primarily for revenue, neglecting to provide necessary support. The proposed cap aims to stabilize new growth and safeguard international students from unscrupulous practices, including fake immigration consultants issuing false acceptance letters and institutions exceeding their capacity to support students.

In 2024, Canada introduces a limit on the number of international students allowed into the country.

As of January 22, the minister has confirmed that the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will limit the issuance of study permits to 360,000 in 2024. This cap signifies a projected 35% decrease in the overall number of international students entering Canada. Importantly, the cap does not extend to study permit renewals or students enrolled in master’s, PhD, or other post-graduate programs.

To distribute the permits, each province will receive an allocation based on its population, with more populous provinces receiving a higher number of study permits. This measure is temporary and is slated to be in effect for two years.

The announcement coincided with additional modifications to Canada’s international student program. Notably, applicants, after receiving a letter of acceptance (LOA), are now required to obtain a letter of attestation from the provincial or territorial government where their Designated Learning Institution (DLI) is situated. This new step in the study permit application process places a deadline of March 31, 2024, for provincial and territorial governments to establish a process for issuing these letters. Consequently, there is a possibility that no new study permits will be issued in Canada until this deadline.

Adjustments have been made to the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Furthermore, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have modified certain eligibility criteria for international students intending to stay in Canada under a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) upon completion of their academic program.

Notably, students engaged in programs at private colleges through a curriculum licensing agreement with a public college will no longer qualify for a PGWP.

Conversely, international students who successfully finish a graduate-level program shorter than the minimum 8-month requirement for a PGWP-eligible program in Canada can now apply for a PGWP.

In addition, IRCC disclosed that spouses of undergraduate students will no longer meet the criteria for Spousal Open Work Permits.

IRCC has announced a significant change, stating that spouses of undergraduate students will no longer qualify for Spousal Open Work Permits.


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