Canada Unveils New Strategy to Regulate International Student Enrollment

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Canada Unveils New Strategy to Regulate International Student Enrollment

| Updated: April 8, 2024 13:17

Canada has announced a comprehensive plan to regulate the issuance of study permits to international students over the next two years. The country aims to reduce the number of new international student permits, setting a target of 485,000 approved study permits for 2024.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller, in a recent statement, shared the finalized provincial and territorial allocations for 2024. He introduced the Net Zero First Year Growth Model, a strategy designed to stabilize the influx of post-secondary students while ensuring they receive optimal support and resources.

The model is based on a national cap, calculated to match the number of expiring study permits in the current year. The goal is to align the intake of international students in 2024 with the number of students whose permits are set to expire within the same timeframe.

The government considered various factors to refine this figure, including the estimated 20% of students seeking permit extensions annually. After accounting for this cohort and incorporating a buffer for potential fluctuations, a revised target of 364,000 approved study permits was set for 2024.

With a national approval rate of 60% for study permit applications, the adjusted target translates into a cap of 606,000 study permit applications for 2024. However, certain categories of international students, such as those pursuing primary, secondary, or advanced degrees, are exempt from this cap.

After accounting for these exempt groups, a final target of 236,000 approved study permits was determined, equating to an approximate allocation of 393,000 study permit applications for 2024.

Miller emphasized that these figures will guide decision-making regarding allocations in subsequent years. He reiterated the government’s commitment to collaborating with provinces and territories to strengthen the International Student Program and provide international students with the necessary resources for their success in Canada.

Zero net growth (one-out, one-in)
Study permits expiring in 2024 (all cohorts)485,000
Exempted groups and buffer-249,400
Target new study permits approved 2024235,600
Approval rate60%
Allocations (# of applications)
Cap space allocated to PTs392,667

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) have concluded the allocation process for provincial and territorial study permit applications. This marks a significant step in implementing the national cap on international student enrollment. The allocation model aims to ensure equitable distribution while accommodating regional dynamics, striking a balance between managing growth and supporting broader immigration objectives across provinces and territories.

Under this model, the adjusted number of study permit applications, totaling 393,000, was distributed based on the population share of each province and territory. This approach acknowledges the varying capacities and needs of different regions, with some poised to welcome more students in 2024 compared to 2023, while others anticipate a decline in new enrollments.

For provinces anticipating growth, allocations were adjusted to limit expansion to 10% compared to 2023 figures, fostering controlled and sustainable development. Conversely, provinces expecting a decrease in student intake received adjusted allocations aimed at mitigating immediate adverse effects and aligning with broader regional immigration goals.

IRCC has implemented top-ups for provinces with approval rates lower than 60%. This measure will enable jurisdictions to reach their anticipated enrollment targets for 2024.

Under the national cap, approximately 552,000 study permit applications have been allocated to provinces and territories. These allocations are projected to yield approximately 292,000 approved study permits, reflecting a 28% reduction from 2023 levels for the groups included under the cap.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller emphasized the dynamic nature of international student enrollment. He acknowledged that various factors, including provincial capacity, approval rates and in-year adjustments, may influence the final number of students arriving in Canada in 2024.

The data gathered from this allocation process will inform future decisions on allocations for 2025. Miller underscored the government’s commitment to collaborative efforts with provinces and territories to fortify the International Student Program and provide essential support for the success of international students in Canada.

Allocation After Initial Adjustment
Final Allocation After Top-Ups for PTs with Approval Rate Below 60%
Province / TerritoryPT Allocations (A)Projected SPs Approved (B)% Change from 2023Top-Up (C)Revised PT Allocations with Top-Up (A+C)Projected SPs Approved (same as B
British Columbia83,00049,800-18%N/A83,00049,800
New Brunswick9,2795,567-10%5,37214,6515,567
Newfoundland and Labrador2,3651,41910%7883,1531,419
Northwest Territories3332004900%N/A333200
Nova Scotia12,9067,744-10%7,47220,3787,744
Prince Edward Island2,0041,202-10%3082,3121,202

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