Drastic Reductions To International Student Immigration

internat educ

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced drastic changes to international student visa policies on January 22, that will substantially cut the number of visas issued for admission to the nation’s colleges and universities during the next two years.

The changes announced by Minister Marc Miller will also eliminate the issuance of Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWP) for some international students.

The two-year pause on what had been a very welcoming educational immigration policy will cut enrolment by global scholars, Canada-wide, by approximately 35 percent in 2024-25 and 2025-26.

In provinces that are currently experiencing severe housing shortages which are being exacerbated by the presence of substantial numbers of international students, the visa-issuance reduction will be in the 50 percent range. Ontario is one of those provinces.

Miller claimed that one of the chief reasons for the moratorium was that too many international students were being enrolled at private schools that provide shoddy academic services. They are, the government alleges, simply acting as fraudulent “diploma mills” to charge immigrants exorbitant tuitions as the cost of making their way to Canada.

The administrators of public universities and colleges (and their provincial and national advocacy organizations), however, counter that if that was truly the government’s concern, it should have just “cracked down” on such schools.

Instead, they say, the IRCC has implemented a reduction that could financially disrupt many public universities and colleges, and damage the educational and career aspirations of current and prospective students.

(Some of those advocacy organizations have also pointed out that the licensing, oversight and regulation of postsecondary institutions – public and private – is the mandated domain of the provincial level of government. Provincial ministries should be addressing this perceived “quality/excessive admission” problem, not the federal immigration department.)

Some critics also suspect that “the real reason” for the government’s crackdown is the pressure that international students (and other immigrants) are placing on the housing market in many communities, especially in terms of the availability of multiple-density accommodations (apartments).

But some of those analysts also point out that the chronic shortage of such housing in many cities existed long before Canada implemented its welcoming immigration policy. Immigrants/students are now being blamed – and penalized – for that long-standing lack of development.

The very welcoming immigration policy introduced by the federal government a half-dozen years ago was designed (in large part) to encourage new-comers to help Canada address its long-term labour-skills shortage during the next 25 to 50 years.

That long-term problem still exists, but now the government appears to be pulling back on its long-term solution (encouraging immigration) because of the short-term pressure of under-developed housing.