Canada: Rise in the number of foreign students receiving study permits despite curbs

Toronto: While the Canadian government has asserted that it aims to curb the number of temporary residents entering the country, the number of international students receiving study permits in the first four months of this year has actually risen.

A Canadian flag flies in front of the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. (REUTERS)

As a shelter affordability crisis has negatively impacted popularity of the Government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, measures were announced to reduce the intake of temporary residents like international students.

However, according to data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), those numbers have actually risen between January and April this year, when compared to the same period in 2023.

The total study permits issued during those four months was 165,805 last year and increased to 187,510 in 2024. The number of Indian students getting these visas also grew, from 72,750 to 81,260 over the same period, remaining steady at approximately 43% of the total.

Of the total 682,4305 study permits issued by Canada in 2023, Indian students accounted for 278,335. So far in 2024, Canada has issued 216,620 study permits with Indians availing 91,510 of them.

In January, IRCC announced that it will implement an intake cap on the number of applications accepted for study permits for international students which is expected to result in a reduction of 35% in those numbers this year as compared to 2023. “For 2024, the cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023,” IRCC noted in a release at the time.

On March 21, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marc Miller announced the government’s target to “decrease in our temporary residents population to 5 per cent over the next three years”.

Whether there will be a decrease this year remains to be seen though in May the number declined slightly, from a total of 34,400 in 2023 to 30,490, with the number of Indian students receiving study permits also falling from 13,055 to 10,560.

The announcements from the government were driven by skyrocketing shelter costs, from housing prices to rentals.

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