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In response to a mounting housing crisis and concerns about programme integrity, Canada has recently announced a prominent policy shift: a two-year cap on new international student visas. Immigration Minister Marc Miller disclosed that 364,000 permits would be approved in 2024, impacting prospective students, particularly those from India. With nearly 3.2 lakh Indians already residing in Canada under student visas, the decision reflects the government’s proactive approach to addressing infrastructure challenges and maintaining a sustainable balance in the face of rising numbers of non-permanent residents entering the country.In response to a mounting housing crisis and concerns about programme integrity, Canada
has recently announced a prominent policy shift: a two-year cap on new international student
visas. Immigration Minister Marc Miller disclosed that 364,000 permits would be approved
in 2024, impacting prospective students, particularly those from India. With nearly 3.2 lakh
Indians already residing in Canada under student visas, the decision reflects the government’s
proactive approach to addressing infrastructure challenges and maintaining a sustainable
balance in the face of rising numbers of non-permanent residents entering the country.

Why?

Government Concerns and Policy Rationale

  • The government expresses concerns about the integrity of the student visa program. This decision is going to address pressure on infrastructure and public services due to the influx of international students. The Immigration Minister emphasises the need fora sustainable level of temporary residence

National Application Intake Cap

  • A two-year national application intake cap will be implemented in 2024 to control A two-year national application intake cap will be implemented in 2024 to control growth. Miller states the aim is to prevent further increases in the number of international students in Canada in 2024.
    growth. Miller states the aim is to prevent further increases in the number of
    international students in Canada in 2024.

Reduction in Student Visas

  • There has been an anticipated 35% reduction in new student visas in 2024. The number is down from approximately 560,000 visas issued the previous year. Reassessment of the number of permits to be issued will be done in 2025 at the end of 2024.

Impact on Indian Students

  • Indian students, a significant demographic, are expected to be adversely affected. Canada, a preferred destination for higher studies, is likely to see a decline in Indian students.

International Student Statistics

  • Over 800,000 international students were issued temporary study visas in 2022. Reports indicate that 40% of international students in Canadian institutions were from India in 2022. Indian students accounted for approximately 2.15 lakh permits in November 2023.

Distribution and Federal Requirements

  • Provinces and territories were given autonomy in distributing permits among universities and colleges. Reduction of visa issues up to 50% for some regions.
  • The federal government requires international students to provide an attestation letter from a province or territory when applying for a permit.

Conclusion

Canada’s decision to cap international student visas for two years reflects a strategic response to a housing crisis, concerns about programme integrity, and the need for a sustainable approach to temporary residence. This move is anticipated to impact a significant number of Indian students who consider Canada a preferred destination for their higher education. The reduction in student visas aims to address infrastructure challenges and aligns with the government’s efforts to manage the overall growth of non-permanent residents in the country.

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