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Why Is Canada Limiting Foreign Students?

FILE - People walk on the grounds of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 9, 2020. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo)
FILE - People walk on the grounds of the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 9, 2020. (REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo)
Why Is Canada Limiting Foreign Students
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Canada recently announced a two-year limit on the number of foreign students given permission to study in the country. The move is partly to ease a growing housing shortage.

Reuters news agency recently reported on some of the details of the plan:

What are the details?

Marc Miller is Canada’s immigration minister. Miller said the government led by the Liberal Party of Canada will introduce a temporary, two-year limit on student visas. That will result in about 364,000 student visas in 2024. The government said that is a cut of 35 percent from the year before.

The new proposals will also set limits on postgraduate work permits issued to foreign students. The new limits will likely cause many postgraduate students to return to their home countries.

The permits were formerly seen as an easy path to securing permanent residency. People in master’s or post-doctoral programs will be eligible for a three-year work permit.

However, people who are married to foreign students in undergraduate and lower-level college programs will no longer be able to receive work permits. The acceptance of new study permit requests in 2025 will be reconsidered at the end of the current year, Miller said.

Why has the government changed its policy?

Canada has become a popular place for international students. It has been easy to receive work permits after finishing study programs in the country. But the increase in international students has led to a shortage of rental homes. This has caused the price of rent to go up. In December, the cost of rent nationwide rose 7.7 percent from a year earlier, government data shows.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s popularity has decreased partly because of increasing living costs. Opposition Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre has taken a lead over Trudeau in public opinion studies. Elections are expected to be held next year.

The government has also been concerned about the quality of education offered by some schools.

Who will this affect?

Canada’s government says international students bring in about $16.4 billion to the nation’s economy. The new policy will hurt many colleges and universities.

Ontario, the most populous area, or province, has the biggest share of international students. Some businesses, including restaurants and retail industries, have warned that a limit on foreign students will create a shortage of temporary workers.

For example, restaurants across Canada are dealing with a worker shortage. It is estimated there are nearly 100,000 available jobs. International students made up 4.6 percent of the 1.1 million workers in the food service industry in 2023, an unnamed industry group told Reuters.

Canadian banks will gain from the new rules for international students. Each student will be required to have a Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC) of more than $15,000. The amount is required for international students to be able to cover living costs. The new GIC is more than double the amount from the earlier policy.

Many of Canada’s foreign students, about 40 percent, come from India. China coming in second with about 12 percent, official data from 2022 shows.

I’m Gregory Stachel.

Wa Lone reported this story for Reuters. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

postgraduate adj. of or relating to studies done after earning a bachelor's degree or other degree

residency n. legal permission to live in a place

eligible adj. able to do or receive something

rent v. money that you pay in return for being able to use property and especially to live in an apartment or house that belongs to someone else

affordable v. to be able to pay for (something)

retail adj. relating to the business of selling things directly to customers for their own use