Canada implements two-year cap on international student visas: Implications for Indian students

In 2024, the cap is expected to result in 364,000 new approved permits, a notable reduction compared to the nearly 560,000 study visas issued the previous year.

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Courtesy: India Today

Canada has recently announced a bold move by imposing an immediate two-year cap on new international student visas, aiming to address a housing crisis and target what Immigration Minister Marc Miller refers to as institutional ‘bad actors.’ This decision is anticipated to have a significant impact on prospective Indian students planning to pursue higher education in the country.

The immediate implementation of a two-year cap on new international student visas is a proactive measure by the Canadian government. This cap includes a 35% reduction in new study visas for the year 2024, with a reassessment planned for the number of permits to be issued in 2025 at the end of this year.

Reduction in Study Visas

In 2024, the cap is expected to result in 364,000 new approved permits, a notable reduction compared to the nearly 560,000 study visas issued the previous year. This reduction is seen as an effort to curb the increasing numbers of non-permanent residents entering Canada, particularly amid a housing crisis.

What will be the impact on Indian Students

Canada has been a preferred destination for Indian students seeking quality education abroad. With approximately 319,000 Indian students holding study permits in 2022, the two-year cap is poised to affect the aspirations of many Indian students planning to pursue education in Canada.

About Canada’s Housing Crisis 

The move to limit international student visas is seen as a response to pressure from provinces dealing with housing crises, where increasing numbers of non-permanent residents, including students, contribute to the strain on available housing.

Targeting ‘Bad Actors’

Minister Marc Miller justified the cap by stating that it allows the government to take action against some small private colleges acting as institutional "bad actors." The aim is to address concerns related to under-resourced campuses, lack of student support, high tuition fees, and increased intake of international students by such institutions.

The minister emphasized that these measures are not directed against individual international students. Instead, they are designed to ensure that future students arriving in Canada receive the quality of education they signed up for, addressing issues related to some institutions providing substandard education.

Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre laid blame on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, labeling him as "incompetent" for granting study permits and highlighting federal responsibility in the matter.

New Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jenny Kwan expressed concerns about potential repercussions on talented students seeking to build a better life, cautioning against measures that might punish those with legitimate aspirations.