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Canada to Decrease Number of New International Study Permits for 2 Years

On Monday, January 22, the Government of Canada's Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship made the announcement that they plan to decrease the number of new international study permits for 2 years. The news has caused some in the industry to panic, but as we will explain, this change seems to have been introduced with genuine concerns for the quality of education in mind.

In recent years there has been a steep upward trend in the number of international students choosing Canada. There are good reasons for this, such as a safe and modern society, a reliable healthcare system, stable economic conditions, and an overall drive on Canada's part to increase immigration in order to fill skills shortages in the labour market. However, this has encouraged some to take advantage of the current immigration climate - people referred to as 'bad actors' by the Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller.

News outlets such as Reuters and the BBC are referencing a housing crisis in Canada as the main driver of this decision-making process, but Marc Miller has been keen to stress that this is not the only concern:

International students are vital to Canada and enrich our communities. As such, we have an obligation to ensure that they have access to the resources they need for an enriching academic experience. In Canada, today, this isn’t always the case. Today, we are announcing additional measures to protect a system that has become so lucrative that it has opened a path for its abuse. Enough is enough. Through the decisive measures announced today, we are striking the right balance for Canada and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system while setting students up for the success they hope for.”

Immigration Minister Marc Miller

Immigration Minister Marc Miller. Copyright Getty Images.

The quality of education on offer is at the heart of this new policy, and Canada remains committed to ensuring that international students receive the high standard of education they expect. In addition, this new measure will help Canada achieve sustainable levels of immigration which will reduce stress on essential services like housing, healthcare, and education.

So, What Does This Mean For 2024?

"Canada will set an intake cap on international student permit applications to stabilize new growth for a period of two years. For 2024, the cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023. In the spirit of fairness, individual provincial and territorial caps have been established, weighted by population, which will result in much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most unsustainable growth. Study permit renewals will not be impacted. Those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education are not included in the cap. Current study permit holders will not be affected."

-Government of Canada Department of Immigration, and Citizenship

Some Key Points

  • Master's, PhD, and K-12 students are not included in the study permit cap

  • Current study permit holders are not affected

  • Those currently studying in Canada and hoping to extend their studies are not affected

  • Study permits will be granted based on the population of each province to ensure sustainable distribution of international students and population growth

  • Study permit applications now require a letter of attestation from a province or territory

Our Advice

If you have already received a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) from a Canadian institution, consider submitting your permit application sooner rather than later.

Affected students need to submit a letter of attestation from the province or territory in which their LOA has been issued. This change is effective immediately, so you will need to get that organized before submitting your study permit application.

If you are interested in studying in Canada this year, make sure you are getting to work on that quickly.

Work with your student counsellor to find quality educational institutions only.


We see this as the first step in Canada improving what is already an excellent system of education. The standards expected of the entire system when dealing with international students are being raised, which as mentioned in the introduction, can only be a good thing in the long-run. As Marc Miller stated, Canada wants to set international students up for success, and this move is the beginning of a review of the system. You can rest assured that Canada is open to international students now and in the future.

If you are interested in studying in Canada or want to learn more about quality education options there, contact us below.


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