the logo

Canadian government caps number of student visas for next two years

The Canadian government will cap the number of study permits that are processed for international students over the next two years to sustain the number of international students entering the country

    Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

    Seeta Bhardwa

    Editor, THE Student
    January 23 2024
    Canadian flag


    The Canadian government has announced that it will set a cap on international student permit applications for the next two years. 

    The cap will mean that approximately 360,000 study permits will be approved in 2024, which is a 35 per cent decrease from the number approved in 2023. 

    Caps for each province have been calculated according to population size, meaning provinces that have experienced the lowest increase in international students will see the largest decrease in study permits accepted in 2024. 

    The cost of studying at a university in Canada
    Scholarships in Canada for international students
    Top universities in Canada ranked by employers

    Everything international students need to know about student visas in Canada

    Renewals for existing study permits will not be affected and 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.

    Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will allocate a portion of the cap to each province and territory, which will distribute this among their universities and designated learning institutions. 

    This cap will be in place for two years and the number of study permit acceptances for 2025 will be determined towards the end of this year. The government of Canada will be working with provinces and territories, universities and designated learning institutions to create a sustainable plan for international students going forward. 

    One of the main reasons for the cap is to tackle the housing shortages that have faced international students in Canada. 

    The government is also making changes to the eligibility criteria of the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program. From 1 September 2024, international students with permits to study at privately owned institutions will no longer be eligible for postgraduate work permits.

    Another change is that open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programmes. The spouses of international students in other levels of study, including undergraduate and college programmes, will no longer be eligible.

    Marc Miller, the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship in Canada, said: “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.”

    Canada is one of the most popular study-abroad destinations due to its lower tuition fees, high-ranking universities and post-study work options.

    You may also like

    Best universities in Canada 2018

    Best universities in Canada 2024

    Find the best universities in Canada using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data 2024

    September 27 2023
    sticky sign up

    Register free and enjoy extra benefits