Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canada Implements Two-Year Cap on Foreign Student Admissions

Canada's decision to impose a two-year cap on the admission of foreign students is a response to the significant surge in recent years, exacerbating the nation's housing scarcity.

In 2023 alone, Canada issued nearly 1 million study permits, a figure three times higher than a decade ago. The proposed measures, announced by Immigration Minister Marc Miller, aim to reduce this intake by almost a third, issuing approximately 364,000 visas in 2024.

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One of the key aspects of the new strategy is a temporary restriction on student visas for two years, accompanied by additional measures impacting post-graduate work permits. Previously viewed as a direct pathway to permanent residency, these work permits will face new restrictions, potentially motivating foreign students to return to their home countries. However, those engaged in master's or post-doctorate programs will still qualify for a three-year work permit.

Spouses of international students enrolled in undergraduate and college programs will no longer be eligible for permits, marking a significant change in the eligibility criteria. Moreover, the government plans to reevaluate the approval of new study permit applications in 2025 at the conclusion of the current year.

The primary driver behind this decision is the housing crisis triggered by the influx of international students, which has resulted in severe shortages in rental accommodations and a subsequent surge in rent prices. December 2023 saw nationwide rents increase by 7.7% compared to the previous year, contributing to a broader affordability crisis.

The housing crisis has had a direct impact on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's popularity, with opposition leader Pierre Poilievre leading in polls ahead of the upcoming election. The affordability crisis has become a critical issue for the government, affecting not only housing but also the quality of education provided by some institutions.

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The decision, however, is expected to have broader economic repercussions. International students contribute approximately C$22 billion ($16.4 billion) annually to the Canadian economy. This move will adversely affect numerous educational institutions that expanded their campuses in anticipation of a continual influx of students. Ontario, being the most populous province, hosts the largest share of international students.

Sectors such as restaurants and retail have raised concerns about potential labor shortages due to restrictions on foreign students. Restaurants across Canada are already grappling with nearly 100,000 vacancies, and international students constitute a notable portion of the workforce, constituting 4.6% of the 1.1 million workers in the food service industry in 2023.

Additionally, Canadian banks have benefited from the inflow of new students, as each student is required to possess a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) exceeding C$20,000—a prerequisite for international students to cover living expenses. The majority of foreign students, approximately 40%, hail from India, with China ranking second at around 12%, according to official 2022 data.

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Zain is a dynamic business student with a passion for technology that goes beyond the classroom. When he's not immersed in his studies, Zain can be found playing with the latest gadgets, fueled by a genuine curiosity for emerging tech trends. His love for technology extends to his avid reading habits, where he stays updated on the latest advancements and breakthroughs in the tech world. Despite his academic focus, Zain is also an outdoor enthusiast, always ready for an adventure. With several years of experience in writing news, Zain brings a unique blend of business acumen, tech-savviness, and journalistic expertise to any discussion or project.
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