Canada International Student Cap: British Columbia, Ontario May Get Affected Most: RBC Economist

Canada International Student Cap: British Columbia, Ontario May Get Affected Most: RBC Economist

The local economies of these two will be affected the most among Canadian provinces due to the cap on international students.

Lavanya AhireUpdated: Tuesday, March 05, 2024, 09:28 AM IST
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Canada International Student Cap: British Columbia, Ontario May Get Affected Most: RBC Economist | File Pic

Canada’s two-year international students' cap might affect Ontario and British Columbia (BC) more than other states, according to a note by a Royal Bank of Canada economist. 

“Given the federal government has allocated the national cap based on provincial population shares, the cap will be most constraining in Ontario and BC where international student admissions (53% and 19% of the Canadian total, respectively) outweigh their share of the Canadian population (39% and 14%),” the note by economist Rachel Battaglia read.

Canada recently capped the number of approved international student permits to approximately 360,000, a decrease of 35% from 2023. In a release, the Immigration Department said that each province will be allocated a portion of the cap. The provinces will then distribute the allocation among their designated learning institutions.

Toronto, BC attract mass number of students

According to Karan Gupta, the founder of the Karan Gupta Education Foundation, Indian students have historically been attracted to Ontario and BC in Canada for their education due to popular universities like the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia, and metropolitan cities like Toronto and Vancouver. 

“Indian and other international students looking for well-known Canadian brands are drawn to mainly these universities and hence these universities receive the largest number of applicants,” Gupta added.

Mohammad Nishat, a postgraduate diploma in accountancy student at York University pointed out that students have relatives in Ontario and BC and rely on these relatives for support and that these regions are more developed and rich. “Many affordable colleges and universities also happen to be at these two places,” he added.

Battaglia’s note added that the number of international students in Ontario and BC is projected to remain relatively flat this year. The cap might affect Atlantic Canada to a lesser degree.

Fall in rental units

The cap could cause a fall in rental units demanded by international students by half this year, the note said. If the policy is extended beyond 2025, the country could see a decline in international students.

Ishank Nagi, majoring in finance at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, pointed out that international students bring a lot of energy and money into the local economy and help fill the job gaps. “Less of them (students) might mean less cash flowing through local businesses and potentially more job vacancies,” Nagi said.

Gupta expects admissions to get harder into universities in Ontario and BC as a result of the visa cap. “It also means that these universities will now have less funding for research and infrastructure development,” Gupta said. He sees universities hiking their fees to compensate for accepting fewer students.

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