With concerns over a housing crisis, Canada is contemplating imposing a cap on international student intake. In an interview with CTV News, Marc Miller, the Minister for Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, expressed unease about the current volume of approximately 900,000 international students in the country.
Miller emphasized the need for a dialogue between the federal government and provincial authorities to address the escalating numbers, describing the situation as disconcerting and a system that has spiraled out of control.
Canada, known for its relatively accessible work permit policies, is a sought-after destination for students. However, the influx of migrants and international students has been linked to a housing shortage, prompting criticism of the government's immigration policies.
The Liberal government's immigration targets, aiming to admit 485,000 immigrants in the current year and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026, have raised concerns. Temporary residents, including international students, contribute significantly to the immigration scenario. Official data reveals a substantial increase in the number of foreign students with active visas, from 275,000 in 2012 to over 800,000 in 2022.
To address the housing crisis, the government has contemplated capping foreign student visas, with significant reforms introduced in December to study permit requirements, including a notable increase in the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants.
Indian students, constituting over 37% of the total international student population in Canada according to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) data, are significantly impacted. India has been the largest source country for international students since 2018.
Moreover, the Sikh population in Canada, which has more than doubled in the past two decades, reflects migration trends driven by higher education and job opportunities. However, the proposed cap on international students and increased financial requirements may signal a potential shift in this trend, affecting the aspirations of Indian students pursuing education in Canada.