Canada announced on Monday January 22 the establishment of a cap on permits for foreign students, whose numbers have exploded in recent years, accentuating the housing crisis according to the government.

“To ensure that there is no further growth in the number of [foreign] students in Canada in 2024, we are setting a national cap on applications for a period of two years,” said the immigration minister , Marc Miller. In 2024, Canada therefore plans to grant 364,000 international study permits, which represents a decrease of 35% compared to 2023.

The ceiling will only apply to new permit applications and foreign students already registered in Canadian universities will not be affected, assured the government of Justin Trudeau, which is working with the provinces, responsible for the education system, to apply the ceiling.

Pressure on housing

“Today’s announcement aims to protect a system that has opened the door to abuse and support sustainable population growth in Canada,” continued Marc Miller. An official estimate indicates that more than a million foreign students are established in Canada. The “rapid” increase in their numbers “puts pressure on housing, health care and other services” in certain provinces, explained the minister, deploring without naming them the “little diversity” of the countries from which the students come.

This cap also aims to prevent certain private schools from taking advantage of the system. “Private institutions have taken advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses and charging high tuition fees, while dramatically increasing the number of international students they enroll,” said Marc Miller.

With the new system, Ontario and British Columbia – which have many universities in Toronto and Vancouver – are expected to welcome fewer foreign students, unlike Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Canada, whose population crossed the 40 million mark in June, is facing a major housing crisis that is affecting all regions of the country.