Study Abroad: Canada planning cap on international student numbers; move likely to impact Indians

Study in Canada: The PM Justin Trudeau's government is facing criticism for welcoming an increasing number of immigrants.

The Canadian government is aiming to bring in 4,85,000 immigrants this year. (Image:Freepik)The Canadian government is aiming to bring in 4,85,000 immigrants this year. (Image:Freepik)

Press Trust of India | January 16, 2024 | 12:48 PM IST

OTTAWA: Canada is looking at the possibility of putting a cap on the number of international students to help reduce the surge in demand for housing and fix the system that has gone out of control, Canada immigration minister Marc Miller has said, a move that is likely to affect Indian students.

The remarks by Miller came on Sunday as the federal government of prime minister Justin Trudeau faced criticism for welcoming an increasing number of immigrants — both permanent and temporary residents — while the country faces an acute housing shortage. In an interview with CTV News, Miller said the federal government will need to have talks with provincial governments “to make sure that the provinces that have not been doing their jobs actually rein in those numbers on a pure volume basis.”

“That volume is disconcerting,” Miller said, in reference to the number of international students in Canada. “It's really a system that has gotten out of control.” A cap on international students would not be a “one-size-fits-all solution” to housing shortages across Canada, Miller noted. But he did not reveal the size of the reduction the government is planning on making.

Over 3 lakh Indian students in 2022

India was the first among the top ten origin countries of study permit holders in 2022 in Canada, with a total of 3,19,000 students. Meanwhile, new reporting by The Canadian Press news agency — citing internal documents obtained through an access to information request — shows the federal government was warned by public servants two years ago that its ambitious immigration targets could jeopardise housing affordability.

Also read ‘Global perspective’ and better jobs: Why Indians are opting for LLM abroad

The Liberals have set targets aiming to bring in 4,85,000 immigrants this year, and 5,00,000 in both 2025 and 2026. Temporary residents, largely international students and migrant workers, are another part of the equation, with more than 3,00,000 of them arriving in Canada in just the third quarter of last year. Miller said he will be looking in both the first and second quarter of this year at possibly setting a cap on international students to help reduce the demand for housing.

Also read 13.24 lakh left to study abroad in 2022; most from Punjab, AP, Maharashtra: Report

When asked why the government is only considering a cap now, when the idea of one has been floated for months, Miller said there’s a need to sort out numbers on a federal level before looking with “a little more granularity” at what individual academic institutions are doing in different provinces, possibly profiting off bringing in more international students.

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