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Canada's Strategic Steps to Manage International Student Growth in 2024 by Issuing 360,000 Study Permits

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International students play a vital role in Canada's society, culture, and economy. However, recent years have witnessed a surge in the number of international students, creating challenges for the integrity of the system and straining resources in areas like housing and healthcare. To address these issues and ensure the well-being of international students, the Canadian government has announced significant measures, including the introduction of intake caps and changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. These measures aim to strike a balance between supporting international students and managing population growth in Canada.

  • The Government of Canada will set an intake cap on international student permit applications for two years, resulting in a 35% decrease in approved study permits for 2024. Provincial and territorial caps have been established, weighted by population, with exemptions for master's and doctoral students and elementary/secondary education. Current study permit holders will not be affected.
  • Each province and territory will receive a portion of the cap to distribute among their designated learning institutions. Starting from January 22, 2024, all study permit applications will require an attestation letter from a province or territory, expected to be issued by March 31, 2024. The cap's continuation beyond two years will be assessed later.
  • Eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program will change, affecting curriculum licensing arrangements, master's degree graduates, and spouses of international students. Graduates of master's programs will soon be eligible for a 3-year work permit.

In addition to the mentioned measures, the Canadian government has implemented several recent reforms to enhance the International Student Program. These include updating the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants, requiring verification of letters of acceptance by post-secondary designated learning institutions, and planning targeted pilot programs to support underrepresented groups of international students in 2024. Furthermore, the government remains committed to exploring pathways to permanent residence for students with in-demand skills and facilitating their transition into the labor force.