Discover Canada
IRCC announces cap on admissions for international students

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that is implanting a temporary cap on the number of international students who are issued study visas. A release from IRCC shows that for 2024, the cap is "expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023."
Further, IRCC is introducing caps for each province and territory. The department says the caps will be weighted by population, and will result in significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth.

The caps will not impact current study permit holders or study permit renewals and do not include those pursing masters and doctoral degrees.

IRCC says that as of today, January 22  2024, every study permit application submitted to IRCC will also require an attestation letter from a province or territory (PT). PTs are expected to establish a process for issuing these letters no later than March 31, 2024.

The department says it will reassess the cap in 2025.


Changes to eligibility criteria for Post Graduation Work Permits

IRCC has also announced changes to the eligibility criteria of the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Starting September 2024, international students starting a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for the PGWP.

IRCC has explained that under curriculum licensing agreements, students physically attend a private college that has been licensed to teach the curriculum of an associated public college. Although these programs have attracted international students in recent years, they have less oversight than public colleges and therefore are a loophole to eligibility for the PGWP.

IRCC has also announced that international students who have graduated from masters programs or other short graduate level programs will be able to apply for a 3-year work permit.

Under the current criteria, the length of a PGWP is based on the length of the individuals study program. This criteria materially limits masters students as it shortens the amount of time they are eligible to gain Canadian work experience and eventually transition to permanent residency.

In the upcoming weeks, the department will also release more details regarding open work permits for the spouses of international students. IRCC says that open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.

The spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programs, will no longer be eligible.


Challenges to system integrity

The measure was widely anticipated as Immigration Minister Marc Miller began publicly discussing the possibility in summer 2023 and again in a December release.

“Ahead of the September 2024 semester, we are prepared to take necessary measures, including limiting visas, to ensure that designated learning institutions provide adequate and sufficient student supports as part of the academic experience.”

He went further and said in an interview with CTV news last week that he would be announcing measures regarding temporary residents, particularly international students, in the first quarter of this year.

There has been growing pressure on IRCC to take action around the number of international students in Canada. The minister has said that the volume of students poses a challenge to the integrity of the system. In the CTV interview he said some institutions had people from outside the country "paying a premium dollar to and not necessarily getting the education they were promised."

The latest IRCC release says  that "some institutions have significantly increased their intakes to drive revenues, and more students have been arriving in Canada without the proper supports they need to succeed." It further notes that rapid increases in the number of international students arriving in Canada also puts pressure on housing, health care and other services.


International students in Canada

Canada admitted over 800,000 international students in 2022 and the minister projected that that number would rise to over 900,000 in 2023

The minister told CTV that the system was “out of control” and that IRCC had been working to “get our own house in order federally.” 

He also voiced concerns regarding a “permissive” designated learning institution (DLI) structure within the provinces and said that provincial governments needed to have “robust” discussions with their DLIs. DLI’s are the only post-secondary institutions in Canada that are allowed to admit international students. There are over 1,000 DLI’s in Canada, with 529 of them in Ontario.

In December IRCC made other changes to the international student program including doubling the cost-of-living requirement for international students from 10,000 to $20,635. The department said this would help international students better prepare for the actual cost of living in Canada.  

Further, IRCC is expected to implement a Trusted Framework Agreement with DLIs in time for the 2024 academic season. Eligible DLIs will benefit from expedited processing for study permits.  

Related articles

How long will it take to become a permanent resident of Canada in 2024?

Foreign nationals seeking permanent residence (PR) in Canada often look for the fastest pathway to achieving their goal and starting a new life in this country.
On a basic level, Canada has four primary immigration classes: economic immigration, family-class sponsorship, humanitarian/compassionate immigration and immigration for refugees/protected persons.
However, within those four general classifications, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides foreign nationals with more than 100 ways to immigrate to Canada.

Top 20 Universities in Canada For 2024 | New List

Canada, with its breathtaking landscapes and diverse cultural heritage, is a sought-after destination not only for its natural beauty but also for its world-class education.
In this extensive investigation, we reveal the top 20 Canadian universities that serve as academic lighthouses, supporting innovation, research, and a varied learning environment.
These institutions represent the pinnacle of scholastic distinction in the Great White North, from the dynamic cities of Toronto and Montreal to the magnificent landscapes of Vancouver and beyond.

3 Canadian Universities rank inside QS World University Rankings for 2024

As they pick their Canadian educational institution, it is common for international students to consult trusted rankings and evaluators to help choose the best school for their needs.
One of those trusted evaluators is Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), viewed globally as a leader in analyzing higher education institutions around the world.
In fact, back in 2013, QS was the first “global and regional university rankings” organization to be “International Ranking Expert Group (IREG)-approved for three of its research outputs". The IREG is “an international institutional non-profit association of ranking organizations, universities and other bodies interested in university rankings and academic excellence.

Tuition hikes and other changes coming for international students in Quebec

In 2024, Quebec will be implementing changes to the post-secondary education system that some believe will have a “direct impact [on Quebec’s] ability to attract and retain the best talents.”
Recent reports from multiple outlets confirm Quebec’s intention, beginning in 2024, to implement several changes to the post-secondary education system – as well as connected immigration programs – across Canada’s only majority French-language province.

Canada’s international student population continues to soar

Canada is a top destination for international students. Immigration Minister Marc Miller has shared that Canada is on track to host around 900,000 international students in 2023. However, recent data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) suggests that number may be low.

Canada’s non-permanent resident population is 2.2 million people

Statistics Canada has just released a major report that changes how it counts Canada’s non-permanent residents (NPRs).
According to the latest population estimate, NPRs account for 2,198,679 people in Canada. A difference of over one million from Census 2021.
The report is significant because Statistics Canada acknowledges that it previously undercounted the country’s NPR population. The revised methodology has significant implications for Canadian public policy in a variety of areas, including immigration, economic and labour market planning and housing, among other important areas.