Home » Canada Slashes International Student Quota Amid Housing Crisis

Canada Slashes International Student Quota Amid Housing Crisis

Canada plans to reduce the number of international students it admits

by Victor Adetimilehin

Canada has announced plans to limit the number of international students it admits, citing concerns over housing affordability and immigration targets.

The country’s immigration minister, Marc Miller, said on Sunday that he will work with provincial governments to set a national cap on international student intake, which he described as “a system that has gotten out of control.”

Miller said the move is necessary to reduce the pressure on the housing market, which has seen prices soar in recent years, especially in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver. He also said the government needs to balance its immigration goals with the need to lower the average age of the workforce.

Canada has been attracting more and more international students in recent years, offering them quality education, post-graduation work opportunities, and a pathway to permanent residency. According to Statistics Canada, there were more than 640,000 international students in Canada in 2023, up from about 494,000 in 2019.

However, some critics have argued that the influx of international students has contributed to the housing shortage, as many of them rent or buy properties in already crowded urban areas. They have also questioned the impact of international students on the labor market, the education system, and the social fabric of the country.


A Cap, Not A Ban

Miller stressed that the government is not banning international students, but rather imposing a cap to ensure a more sustainable and equitable system. He said he will consult with the provinces, which have jurisdiction over education, to determine the appropriate number and distribution of international students across the country.

He also said he will look into the financial and academic standards for international students, such as the proof of funds, the verification of offer letters, and the quality of education institutions.

Miller said he expects to have a cap in place by the first or second quarter of this year, but he did not give any specific figures. He said he will take into account the needs and interests of various stakeholders, including the international students themselves, the education sector, the business community, and the general public.


A Mixed Reaction

The announcement of a cap on international students has drawn a mixed reaction from different groups and individuals.

Some have welcomed the decision, saying it will help ease the housing crisis and protect the interests of Canadian citizens and residents. They have also praised the government for being responsive to the public opinion and the changing circumstances.

Others have criticized the decision, saying it will hurt the economy and the reputation of Canada as a welcoming and diverse country. They have also warned that the cap will reduce the quality and competitiveness of Canadian education and innovation, and deprive the country of skilled and talented immigrants.

International students themselves have expressed disappointment and anxiety over the cap, saying it will limit their opportunities and dreams. They have also urged the government to consider the positive contributions they make to Canada, both culturally and economically.


A Global Trend

Canada is not the only country that is rethinking its approach to international students amid the pandemic and its aftermath. Several other countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, have also tightened their policies and regulations on international student admission, visa, and work rights.

However, some experts have cautioned that these countries may lose their competitive edge and global influence if they turn away international students, who bring not only revenue and skills, but also goodwill and soft power. They have suggested that these countries should instead invest more in improving their housing and education systems, and fostering a more inclusive and harmonious society.

Source: Punch

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