Canada Considers Cap On International Students Amid Housing Crisis

Canada Considers Cap On International Students Amid Housing Crisis

The move follows a decline in Indian student visa applications and new university verification requirements. Students express doubts about the effectiveness of a cap in solving housing issues and job scarcity. Read more.

Lavanya AhireUpdated: Sunday, January 21, 2024, 08:18 PM IST
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Canada Considers Cap On International Students Amid Housing Crisis | File Pic

Canada is considering a cap on international students amid a housing crisis that has plagued the country, the Canadian Immigration Department told The Free Press Journal (FPJ).

”At this time, IRCC has not established caps for study permits, but as the Minister has noted, a cap is an option being assessed”, the department said.

Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller had earlier, in an interview with CTV, said that a cap is being considered, without revealing the extent of the reduction being assessed for international students.

The news comes at a time when Canada’s employment market faces challenges. while international students express unhappiness with the rising housing costs and constant changes in visa and admission policies. Amid these, the recent India-Canada diplomatic row has caused a sharp decline in Indian students applying for Canadian study visas.

In an interview with Reuters, Miller admitted that he does not see the number of study permits given to Indians rebound soon.

In another policy change, starting December 2023, the Immigration Department mandated universities to verify the letters of acceptance (LOAs) students submit with their overseas applications through an online portal. The university will have to approve the letter within 10 days. 

“If a DLI does not complete the verification within that time frame the study permit application will be closed and study permit processing fees will be refunded. For administrative flexibility, the system will temporarily accept validations for 15 calendar days instead of 10”, the statement, sent to the FPJ, added.

The department also adopted a  “recognized institutions” framework for which they still haven’t finalised a framework. However, many international students believe that a cap would not solve the housing crisis. 

Vedant Bhinge, from York University, Toronto, said that a cap on immigrants might put the housing crisis on hold but won’t solve the issue. 

Ishank Nagi, majoring in finance at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, agreed with this sentiment, adding,” It's unlikely to be a comprehensive solution, given the complexity of housing shortages, which also involve factors like construction rates, affordability, and population growth in general.”

Miller also reiterated in the CTV interview that the cap on international students would not be a “one-size-fits-all solution” to housing shortages across Canada.

Several international students have also expressed concern about Canada’s job market. 

Harshit Singh, studying at Conestoga College, said that earlier, the students would work at two or three jobs to sustain themselves and still have some extra money, but at present, they have no jobs.

Explaining how dire the situation is, he said, “Inflation has grown three times on food and groceries. Interest rates on financing a car have gone up from 2.99% to 9.99%. Mortgage has gone up from 3.4% to around 7% now.”

Students underscore the need for a more comprehensive approach, considering the interconnected factors contributing to the current situation. 

As discussions unfold, it remains to be seen how Canada will balance its commitment to international education with addressing domestic concerns.

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