International students enrich our communities and are critical to Canada’s social, cultural, and economic fabric. In recent years, the integrity of the international student system has been threatened. Some institutions have significantly increased their intakes to drive revenues, and more students have been arriving in Canada without the proper supports they need to succeed.
Rapid increases in the number of international students arriving in Canada also puts pressure on housing health care, and other services. As we work to better protect international students from bad actors and support sustainable population growth in Canada, we’re moving forward with measures to stabilize the number of international students in Canada.
This includes a two-year intake cap on international student permit applications to stabilize new growth. For 2024, this cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will allocate a portion of the cap to each province and territory, who will then distribute the allocation among their designated learning institutions. Every study permit application submitted to IRCC will also require an attestation letter from a province or territory.
During this two-year cap, the Government of Canada will continue to work with provinces and territories, designated learning institutions, and national education stakeholders on developing a sustainable path forward for international students, including:
- finalizing a recognized institution framework.
- determining long-term sustainable levels of international students.
- ensuring post-secondary institutions can provide adequate levels of student housing.
Those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education are not included in the cap. Current study permit holders will not be affected.
Additionally, we’re changing the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP):
- Starting September 1, 2024, international students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a postgraduation work permit upon graduation.
- Graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a 3-year work permit.
These measures complement other recently announced reforms to the International Student Program. Taken together, they aim to ensure genuine students receive the support they require and have the resources they need for an enriching study experience in Canada, while at the same time, alleviating pressures on housing, health care, and other services.