Canada Implements Two-Year Cap on International Study Permits and Adjusts Work Eligibility

In a recent announcement, Immigration Minister Marc Miller declared a temporary cap on the issuance of new study permits to international students in Canada for the years 2024 and 2025. The move, described as a temporary measure, aims to tighten integrity controls within Canada’s student visa program.

The cap is expected to result in a 35% reduction in new study permits issued in 2024 compared to the levels in 2023. The allocation of cap space will be based on provincial populations, with some provinces facing more significant reductions. However, exceptions apply, as the cap will not affect graduate-level programs, including master’s or doctoral studies, and study permit applications at the elementary and secondary school levels.

To address concerns about program integrity and support student success, applicants must now provide a provincial attestation with their study permit application. Provinces and territories are expected to establish the attestation process by March 31, 2024.

The cap will not impact applicants within Canada seeking to extend their studies, and existing study permit holders will remain unaffected. The government plans to assess the number of new study permit applications that will be issued in 2025 at the end of 2024.

In addition to the cap, changes to work eligibility were announced. As of September 1, 2024, post-graduate work permits will no longer be available to students enrolled in programs delivered via public-private partnerships. Open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students enrolled in master’s, doctoral, and professional programs like medicine and law.

Furthermore, graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for a three-year work permit, providing expanded post-study work rights.

Minister Miller emphasized that these measures are aimed at ensuring international students receive the quality education they signed up for and to address concerns about under-resourced campuses and high tuition fees in some private institutions. The government will continue to collaborate with provinces, territories, and education stakeholders to develop a sustainable path forward for international students.


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