BREAKING: IRCC to announce a two-year cap on admissions for international students

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced that it will be implanting a cap on the number of international students who are issued study visas.

This is a developing story. CIC News will update as more as information becomes available

According to the Toronto Star, IRCC says the number of international students who receive Canadian study permits will be reduced by 35% over the next two years. The Star says information was obtained from an internal memo between IRCC and Universities Canada.

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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.”

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 CTVs 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 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.  

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