International Student Canada

Canada’s New Two-Year Cap on International Student Permits: Understanding the Change

Canada has recently announced a significant policy change in its approach to international education, deciding to implement a two-year cap on international student permits. This decision marks a shift in the country’s long-standing practice of welcoming students from around the globe for extended periods of study. The new policy is set to reshape the landscape of international education in Canada, affecting a wide range of stakeholders, including students, educational institutions, and communities. This blog aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the reasons behind this decision, its implications, and the potential impact on Canada’s educational sector and international student community.

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Background of the Policy Change

The decision to cap international student permits in Canada to two years stems from a broader context of challenges and considerations. One primary reason for this policy shift is to address potential abuses within the system and ensure the integrity of Canada’s educational offerings to international students. The Canadian government has discovered private institutions are taking advantage of international students by accepting students in programs and campuses that are under resourced, lacking support while charging high tuition fees. Additionally, there have been growing concerns about the impact of the large immigration targets set by the Liberal government, may be driving affordability in Canada higher, specifically the housing component. Specifically the intake of large amounts of international student population on local communities rent prices. This policy change aims to strike a balance between maintaining Canada’s reputation as a welcoming destination for international education and addressing these domestic concerns effectively.

International Student Canada

Details of the New Cap and Changes to Post Graduate Program

Under the new policy for 2024, Canada will issue approximately 360,000 undergraduate study permits, a 35% decrease from 2023. This cap will be divided among provinces and territories based on their population, with significant reductions, potentially around 50%, in provinces where the international student population has grown unsustainably. Each province and territory will determine the allocation of permits among their educational institutions. The cap is set for two years, with reassessment planned for 2025. Additionally, changes to the post-graduation work permit program will affect students in certain programs, such as those in curriculum licensing arrangements, and will extend eligibility for graduates of master’s and short graduate-level programs.

International Student Canada

Impact on Universities and Students

The new cap on international student permits is likely to significantly impact Canadian universities, particularly those in provinces with previously high numbers of international students. These institutions may face challenges in maintaining diversity and sustaining revenue from international tuition fees, which often fund various university programs and initiatives. One such case has already occurred with Queens University announcing major cuts to its budget to keep doors open. Two reasons being provincial government decision to cut tuition by 10 per cent in 2019 and freeze it at that level and a decrease in the amount of international students applying. On the other hand, this change could lead to increased focus on enhancing the quality of education and support for a smaller, more manageable international student body. In response, universities might adapt by revising admission strategies, seeking alternative funding sources, or advocating for policy adjustments. The overall effect on students will depend on how universities and provinces implement these changes, balancing the quality of education with the reduced number of international students.

International Student Canada

Canada’s decision to cap international student permits will bring considerable changes to the educational environment in Canada, affecting universities, students, and communities. As stakeholders adapt to these new conditions, potential students may need guidance on navigating this altered environment. Canada By Choice can assist in this regard, providing up-to-date information, advising on alternative pathways for education and immigration, and helping students understand the implications of these changes for their educational and career goals in Canada. Our expertise ensures students are well-informed and supported in making the best decisions for their future amidst these significant policy shifts.


If you need consultation on any matters regarding Canadian immigration, book a consultation today. Students enjoy a discount when booking a consultation with one of our immigration consultants.  

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The information in this blog is not to be interpreted or construed as legal advice. Everyone’s immigration goals, objectives and situations are different. Please contact us to speak to a consultant for advice.

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