The Canadian government says it will limit the number of visas it gives to international students because it is still worried about bad schools and a lack of housing.
Overseas students coming to Canada will be limited by 35% over the next two years, starting with the next school year. The goal is to get back to about 364,000 students, which was the number of students coming from other countries last year.
An increasing number of warnings from the Trudeau administration—most often and strongly by Marc Miller, the federal immigration minister—that the abuse of foreign student visas has gotten out of hand led to the announcement.
The visa caps will be different for each province. In Ontario, which has the most people in the country, the number of foreign students is expected to drop by at least 50%.
Canada has long been one of the best places in the world for college students to travel abroad. Each year, about 900,000 international students pay about six times the tuition fees of Canadian students, which helps pay for Canada’s postsecondary system.
But the move by the Trudeau administration doesn’t seem to be meant to change that general good thing for the country’s public colleges. Instead, it seems to be mostly aimed at private institutions, especially those that were created as partner organizations of public institutions. These institutions have become a major source of complaints about abuses whereby international students, usually from India, are brought to Canada to make money, sometimes without intending to take legal courses.
As he talked about the new rules, Mr. Miller made it clear that the federal government was not trying to send a message against all international students. Instead, the limits are meant to stop “some private institutions from taking advantage of international students by running campuses that lack resources.”
That goal is meant to reassure Canada’s more well-known and respected schools that the changes might not have a big impact on their students while they wait for Mr. Miller to explain his full plans.
In general, the Miller plan will let the provinces and territories give out student permits to all of their schools.
Along with the limits on visas, the government’s plan also stops postgraduate students from getting work permits at privately run schools and sets new limits on work permits for students’ spouses.
Mr. Miller has been paying extra attention to what’s happening in Ontario. There are about a dozen public colleges in the Toronto area. Some of them are affiliated with private schools where most of the students are from outside of Canada.
Universities Canada replied that it was “studying the announcement to understand what it means for Canadian universities.”
A spokeswoman said, “We are worried that the cap per province will add stress to a system that is already under a lot of stress. Until more information is given on how each province will implement this new program, it is hard to say what effect it will have on Canada’s universities.”
“We are glad to hear that current holders of a study permit will not be affected by the cap and that master’s and PhD students will soon be able to apply for a three-year work permit.” We think that the most important thing that needs to be done is to stop international students from getting a work permit after they graduate if they start a course that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement with a public college. This will help a lot with the problems that the department is looking into.
“However, we think that the need for letters of attestation from each province could make processing times much longer, which could make students decide to go to college in a different country.”
“We will keep fighting for international students because they bring important knowledge, diversity, and skills to our campuses and workforce. We must also keep inviting them to study at Canadian universities.”