40% Fewer International Students Due To Cap On Canada Study Permits

Specific Degrees Allow Spouses Of International Students To Get Open Work Permits
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Fewer new international students will come to Canada this school year than previously expected after Immigration Minster Marc Miller’s cap on study permit applications.

After Miller announced the cap of only 606,250 study permit applications in the coming year for new international students, The Globe and Mail reported this would likely mean a drop of 35 per cent study permits compared to last year.

The actual drop is now expected to be much higher, closer to 40 per cent.

The original estimated drop in study permits was based on the number of applications which are to be accepted and the historical approval rate of 60 per cent for those applications.

But Ottawa has since clarified that the figure for the study permit applications included students who are exempt from the cap and so the actual number of new study permits for those international students subject to the cap is expected to be only 292,000, or 18.9 per cent less than the 360,000 previously expected.

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Among the provinces which have already been told how many study permit applications will be allotted for international students in their provinces, some are decidedly unhappy.

Alberta, which has about 11.5 per cent of the country’s population, is only getting 6.8 per cent of study permit applications.

“This is significantly lower than the allocation Alberta anticipated,” Mackenzie Blyth, press secretary to Alberta Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney, reportedly told The Globe and Mail.

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British Columbia has been allotted 83,000 study permit applications although its population is only about 15 per cent more than Alberta’s.

And Nova Scotia has seen a reduction to the number of its study permit applications.

In early February, the Canada Gazette reported that certain categories of international students would be exempt from the cap on study permit applications.

Seven Categories Of International Students Exempt From Cap On Applications

“As stipulated in these Instructions, certain categories of study permit applications are excluded from the conditions set out in these Instructions and the associated application cap established by these Instructions.”

Exempt from this new cap on international study permits are those international students who already have study permits and are seeking to renew them and the family member of a temporary resident who already has either a work or study permit.

Also exempt from the cap on study permits are:

  • members of the armed forces of a country under the Visiting Forces Act, including a person who has been designated as a civilian component of those armed forces;
  • officers of a foreign governments sent, under exchange agreements between Canada and one or more countries, to take up duties with a federal or provincial agency;
  • participants in sports activities or events, in Canada, either as an individual participant or as a member of a foreign-based team or Canadian amateur team;
  • employees of foreign news companies reporting on events in Canada;
  • people responsible for assisting congregations or groups in the achievement of their spiritual goals and whose main duties are to preach doctrine, perform functions related to gatherings of their congregations or groups or provide spiritual counselling.

Throughout Canada, colleges and universities have expressed concern over the cap on study permit applications, saying it sends the wrong signal to international students.

President and CEO of the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) Larissa Bezo said in a webinar organised by The PIE and Student VIP that the cap on study permits is not the way her organizations would have chosen to proceed to address the housing issue.

The CBIE issued a statement in January expressing concern the cap on the number of international students might have serious unintended consequences.

“This hasty one-size-fits-all solution may jeopardize the benefits of international education that many communities across the country experience and rapidly unravel a strong global Canadian education brand that has taken years to build,” notes the CBIE on its website.

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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.