Canada Implements Two-Year Cap on International Student Visas: Impact on Indian Students

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January 24, 2024

Canada Implements Two-Year Cap on International Student Visas: Impact on Indian Students

• Canada’s federal government recently announced significant changes to its international student visa policies, affecting the number of visas issued and modifying post-graduation work permit programs. These measures are expected to have implications, especially for Indian students, a significant demographic in Canada’s international student community.
Reduction in International Student Visas
• Marc Miller, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, unveiled a decision to cap the number of international student visas for a two-year period starting from the upcoming academic session. The new policy, effective from September 1, 2024, entails a 35% reduction in the issuance of new international student permits compared to 2023 figures.
Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit Program
• In addition to the visa cap, modifications to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP) were announced. Starting in September 2024, PGWPs will no longer be issued to students studying under curriculum licensing arrangements. Furthermore, work permits for spouses of international students, except those in masters and doctoral programs, will also be restricted.
Reasons Behind the Measures
• The decision to implement these measures stems from the need to maintain a sustainable level of temporary residence in Canada. Miller emphasized that ensuring international students have access to necessary resources for success in the country is a priority. The move is also seen as a response to the growth of student intake beyond the capacity certain communities could handle, leading to potential exploitation of international students by unscrupulous actors.
Specific Impact on Indian Students
• The new policies will particularly impact Indian students, as India tops the list of countries sending the most applicants for Canadian student visas. The two-year cap on student permits applies primarily to undergraduate courses, with exemptions for masters, PhD programs, and elementary and secondary school-level courses. Current international students in Canada, irrespective of their course level, are not affected by the visa cap.
Implications and Criticisms
• The decision has drawn attention to concerns such as a housing crisis in Canada, increased living costs, and the quality of education provided by private institutions. Critics argue that private institutions, excluded from the PGWP program, lack oversight and may not offer the high-quality academic experience associated with Canadian education.
• Canada’s decision to implement a two-year cap on international student visas and modify the PGWP program reflects the government’s commitment to maintaining a sustainable and secure system. While the move aims to address issues of capacity, potential exploitation, and system integrity, it raises concerns about the impact on Indian students, who constitute a significant portion of Canada’s international student community. The evolving situation will be closely monitored, with a reassessment planned at the end of the year to determine study permit numbers for 2025.

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Canada Implements Two-Year Cap on International Student Visas: Impact on Indian Students | Vaid ICS Institute