For 2024, the government says they will be approving approximately 360,000 study permits, which represents a 35 per cent decrease compared to 2023. Study permit renewals will reportedly not be impacted. Photo Credit: Mohawk College.
The federal government recently announced an intake cap on international student permit applications for a period of two years.
Canada has seen rapid increases in the number of international students arriving in the country.
Statistics Canada data indicates that there were 531,017 study permit holders in Canada in quarter three of 2021 and 960,495 in quarter four of 2023.
A Government of Canada press release says that the increasing number of international students “puts pressure on housing, health care, and other services,” making a cap necessary.
For 2024, the government says they will be approving approximately 360,000 study permits, which represents a 35 per cent decrease compared to 2023. Study permit renewals will reportedly not be impacted.
The cap takes effect immediately. In order to implement the cap, as of January 22, 2024, every study permit application submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada will now require an attestation letter from a province or territory.
The policy, particularly its last minute nature, was quickly criticized, with Ontario Colleges, which represents two dozen publicly funded colleges in Ontario, saying that they were not consulted and that the decision was rushed, “creating havoc” for students.
Ron J. McKerlie, the President and CEO of Hamilton’s Mohawk College echoed the statement from Ontario Colleges.
McKerlie said in a statement that the announcement “is already having an impact on Mohawk College and our accepted and future students, as well as regional employers and the greater Hamilton community.”
The immediate moratorium on student visa processing that came into effect on January 22, 2024, has reportedly impacted programs at Mohawk College that begin in May 2024.
He added that the college educates students in healthcare and trades, areas which are experiencing labour shortages.
Mohawk College, along with all Ontario colleges, are asking the Government of Canada “to delay the newly announced attestation requirements until April 1, 2024, to allow the provinces to responsibly develop and implement the new system.”
Mohawk College educates 7,200 international students across its five campuses in Hamilton and Mississauga.
Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre also responded to the Government of Canada’s news, saying at a press conference that Trudeau has “spent eight years ruining our immigration system, a system that was the best in the world.”
“Immigrants, international students, and temporary foreign workers are not to blame for his incompetence,” said Poilievre. “He is to blame. He is the one that caused this mess. He is the one that brought hundreds of thousands of people here without homes.”
Indeed, an investigation by The Canadian Press found that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship was warned about the effects of Canada’s high population growth in 2022.
Nevertheless, the government increased the number of new permanent residents accepted into Canada to 500,000 per year and also allowed the number of international students to rise significantly.
Based in Hamilton, he reaches hundreds of thousands of people monthly on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. He has been published in The Hamilton Spectator, Stoney Creek News, and Bay Observer. He has also been a segment host with Cable 14 Hamilton. In 2017, he received the Chancellor Full Tuition Scholarship from the University of Ottawa (BA, 2022). He has also received the Governor General’s Academic Medal. He formerly worked in a non-partisan role on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.