Federal government announces two-year cap on international student admissions

Canada’s Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced last Monday a temporary cap on new student visas.


Marc Miller

Miller said the number of new visas handed out this year will be capped at 364,000, a 35 per cent decrease from the nearly 560,000 issued last year. The number for 2025 will be set after an assessment of the situation later this year, he noted.

“In the spirit of fairness, we are also allocating the cap space by province based on population, such as that some provinces will see much more significant reductions,” Miller said.

Ontario, which has accounted for a larger share of growth in international students, will see its allotment of new visas cut in half.

The cap will apply only to post-secondary undergraduate students, not those seeking visas for master’s programs, doctoral degrees or elementary and high school students.

The minister hopes it will give federal and provincial governments time to tackle problems in a system that he says is taking advantage of high international student tuition while providing, in some cases, a poor education.

More than 900,000 foreign students had visas to study in Canada last year, though the visas are issued for three years at a time, so not all of them were newly admitted to Canada in 2023.

The total number of foreign students is more than three times what it was a decade ago.

The federal government issues the visas but the provinces approve schools to accept international students. Each province has its own criteria for deciding which schools can be designated for international students.