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Canada confirms study permit cap and Post-Graduation Work Permit changes

Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller, has confirmed a two-year cap on new study permits for international students and removed students at public-private partnerships from the Post-Graduate Work Permit.

Minister Miller said the cap was being introduced to improve integrity, maintain a sustainable level of temporary residents in Canada, and ease pressure on housing.

In 2024, Canada expects around 360,000 study permits to be issued, which would represent a 35 percent decrease compared with 2023.

Study permit distribution: Each province will be issued a cap on study permits that they can issue based on population.

Cap exemption: The cap will not apply to master’s and PhD students or students at elementary or secondary school, IRCC confirmed.

Studying for less than six months at a language school does not require a study permit and is also not affected.

Study permit applications: Students affected by the cap now need to provide a ‘provincial attestation’ with their study permit applications.

Provinces are expected to establish a process by the end of March.

PGWP: The Minister also announced that the Post-Graduate Work Permit will no longer be available to international students at public-private partnership college models from September 1st, 2024.

IRCC said such programmes had seen significant growth but had less oversight than public colleges.

However, master’s students can claim a three-year PGWP starting in September. Under current rules, the amount of time granted is based on the length of a study programme.

The Minister confirmed that the new rules will not impact any currently enrolled students already in Canada.

It was also stated that open work permits for dependents will only be available to spouses of master’s and PhD students, with further details to follow. See here for full details of the IRCC changes: Response: Industry stakeholders expressed concerns about the impact.

The Canadian Bureau for International Education said the “sweeping cap” could have “serious unintended consequences” and “cause irreparable harm to the EduCanada brand”, while Colleges
and Institutes Canada, cited possible layoffs, closures, and increased tuition fees.

Dinesh Malhotra, founder of The Orange Group agency in India, told STM, “The cap has the potential to alter perceptions of Canada as the most welcoming destination for international students. The impact on the country’s reputation will depend on the transparency of implementation, effective communication, and the overall student experience under the new regulations.”

On visas, Universities Canada said it anticipated extended processing times because of attestation letters, which could force students elsewhere. 

“The adjustments to the PGWP criteria for public-private partnerships could indeed influence the demand for Canadian education in the Indian market,” said Dinesh.
Alexandre Argenta, President of the Brazilian agency association Belta, added, “I understand that this will impact not only agents but mainly the schools that have invested significant funds in these partnerships during the past few years. This change reduces and may even close the doors for some of these programmes, so agents will have to look for new ideas.”
industry reaction at: