Canada has announced that it is imposing an immediate two-year cap on new international student visas to tackle the housing crisis and target institutional “bad actors”. The move will significantly impact Indians who dream of moving to the North American country for studies and job opportunities.
Justin Trudeau’s government will introduce a temporary, two-year cap on student visas. This will impact the numbers significantly, with an estimate of only 360,000 study permits being granted in 2024 compared to the 900,000 last year.
Some places like Ontario, which received the biggest share of International students, will see a 50% reduction. This two-year cap comes in response to the crippling housing crisis in the country. Owing to the acute shortage of housing facilities, the rent also went up by 7.7% which was impacting the popularity of the Trudeau government.
The study visas that were issued in 2023 were three times compared to the figures of a decade before. It will not affect the current visa holders or the one applying for renewals. Students applying for Master’s and PhD will also be exempted from the visa cuts.
Canada has been a desirable destination for higher education.
Mark Miller, the Immigration Minister of Canada, had hinted at cutting on student visas owing to the growing housing concern in October last year.
“Ahead of the September 2024 semester, we are prepared to take necessary measures, including limiting visas, to ensure designated learning institutions provide adequate and sufficient student support as part of the academic experience”, Miller said.
He also said that the spouses of international students will be ineligible for a visa.
The latest suggestions will establish restrictions on post-graduate work permits for international students, which will propel them to go back to their native countries. Previously considered a straightforward route to obtaining permanent residency, now these permits will only be given for three-year master’s or post-doctorate programs.
Some businesses, including restaurants and retail sectors, have warned that a cap on foreign students will cause shortages of labour. Restaurants and food businesses across Canada are grappling with labour shortages and the international students made up a big chunk of them.