Canada’s New Visa Policy for International students

According to official data, Canada has seen a significant increase in the number of study permits issued over the past decade. Now, some changes are being made to their policy.

Canada has implemented a temporary two-year cap on the intake of international students due to a housing shortage exacerbated by the rapid increase in foreign student numbers.

According to government data, the number of study permits issued by the country last year was nearly one million, which is three times higher than the figures from a decade ago. The latest proposal seeks to decrease the intake by nearly one-third. Canada's Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, announced that the Liberal government plans to introduce a two-year limit on student visas. This move is expected to lead to the issuance of around 364,000 visas in 2024.

The plan also includes restrictions on post-graduate work permits for foreign students, which may incentivize them to go back to their home countries.

In a surprising turn of events, the once straightforward path to permanent residency will now face stricter regulations.

However, individuals who are pursuing master's or post-doctorate programmes will still qualify for a three-year work permit.

In addition, Miller stated that permits will no longer be available for spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and college programmes.

By year's end, the acceptance of fresh applications for study permits in 2025 will be reevaluated.

The government's response is a result of the increase in international students, which has led to a housing crisis and higher rents nationwide.

In December 2023, there was a significant 7.7 per cent rise in rents across the country, as reported by Statscan. The popularity of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suffered primarily due to the affordability crisis. In the upcoming election next year, opposition Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre has emerged as a strong leading candidate, surpassing Trudeau in opinion polls.

Concerns about the quality of education provided by certain institutions have also led the government to reassess its immigration policies.

The move will have significant impacts on both the housing market and the economy. Every year, the Canadian economy receives a significant boost of C$22 billion ($16.4 billion) from international students.

This decision is expected to have an impact on educational institutions that have expanded their campuses in anticipation of a steady stream of students.

Ontario, being the most populous province, has attracted a large number of international students. Several businesses, such as restaurants and the retail sector, have expressed concerns about possible labour shortages resulting from the limit on foreign students.

Canada's decision will impact Canadian banks, as international students must possess Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) worth more than C$20,000 to cover their living expenses.

A significant number of international students, about 40%, come from India, while China follows closely behind at approximately 12%, according to official data from 2022.

In light of these developments, the University of Toronto has expressed its willingness to work together with the government at all levels to ensure that student allocation is properly addressed.

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