Canada Imposes Cap on International Student Visas Amid Housing and Service Strains

Marc Miller Immigration Minister Of Canada
Marc Miller Immigration Minister Of Canada

Canada has announced a significant change in its international student visa policy, aiming to address issues related to housing, healthcare, and the overall strain on services due to record levels of immigration. Immigration Minister Marc Miller declared a 35% reduction in new study visas for 2024, capping the number at 364,000. This decision follows concerns about the exploitation of the international students’ program, particularly by institutions offering “sham” degrees.

Miller criticized these institutions for contributing to the pressure on Canada’s housing and healthcare systems, describing the situation as a “mess” that needs to be reined in. The policy shift comes against the backdrop of nearly 560,000 visas issued last year and a current total of around one million foreign students in Canada – a figure more than three times higher than a decade ago.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet, which is focusing on affordability and housing issues, aligns with this move. Canada experienced substantial population growth last year, reaching 40 million people. This growth, along with the rising cost of living, including rents and mortgages, has intensified the need for balanced immigration policies.

Miller pointed out the misuse of the program by some schools that charge high fees without offering quality education, sometimes serving as mere gateways for students to obtain permanent residency in Canada. He emphasized that the program’s intention is not to facilitate entry for jobs like Uber driving, but to provide genuine educational opportunities.

The opposition, led by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, has criticized the Trudeau government for this situation, accusing it of granting study permits to thousands attending fake schools. This announcement marks a significant policy shift aimed at stabilizing the influx of people into the country and managing the associated challenges more effectively.

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