As part of efforts to address a surge in housing demand and regain control over an overwhelmed system, Canada is considering implementing a cap on the number of international students. Immigration Minister Marc Miller mentioned the need for discussions with provincial governments to rein in the soaring numbers and alleviate the housing crisis. The move is likely to impact Indian students, with India ranking first among the top 10 origin countries of study permit holders in Canada in 2022, boasting a total of 319,000 students.
Miller acknowledged the disconcerting volume of international students, describing the current system as having “got out of control.” While he emphasized that a cap wouldn’t be a universal solution for housing shortages, the minister did not specify the extent of the reduction being considered. The potential cap is part of broader efforts to manage immigration targets set by the federal government, aiming to bring in 485,000 immigrants in 2023 and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026.
Internal documents obtained by The Canadian Press revealed warnings from public servants two years ago that ambitious immigration targets could jeopardize housing affordability. The government was urged to address the impact of more than 300,000 temporary residents, including international students and migrant workers, arriving in Canada during the third quarter of the previous year. Miller indicated that discussions about a cap on international students would take place in the first and second quarters of the year, considering the financial capability of students and the need to verify offer letters.
Responding to questions about the delayed consideration of a cap, Miller emphasized the necessity to sort out federal-level numbers before examining individual academic institutions across provinces. He highlighted the importance of ensuring a system that verifies financial capabilities and offer letters, expressing a commitment to addressing volumes and their impact on specific areas. While not providing specifics, Miller confirmed that a cap on international students is under consideration, and discussions will be conducted with provinces, taking into account the financial needs of academic institutions.