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Canada to Cap New International Student Permits in 2024: 360,000 expected, a 35% decrease from 2023

Updated: Jan 29

Canada is putting the brakes on its fast-growing international student population, aiming to protect students, ease pressure on services, and ensure program sustainability. Minister Miller announced a temporary intake cap of 360,000 new study permits for 2024, down 35% from 2023.

Key Measures:

  1. The cap will be distributed among provinces and territories based on population, with those experiencing the highest growth seeing the most significant reductions.

  2. Current study permit holders and those pursuing higher education (Master's, PhD) are exempt from the cap.

  3. The government will work with stakeholders to develop a sustainable long-term plan for international students, including:

    1. Finalizing a "recognized institution framework" to ensure quality education.

    2. Determining sustainable intake levels.

    3. Ensuring post-secondary institutions provide adequate student housing.

  4. Changes to the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program:

    1. Eligibility: Starting September 1, 2024, international students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a post­graduation work permit upon graduation.

    2. Duration: Individuals who have completed master's and other short graduate-level programs will soon have the opportunity to apply for a three-year work permit. The existing criteria for post-graduation work permit currently tie the permit's duration exclusively to the length of the individual's study program. This approach poses challenges for master's graduates, as it constrains the timeframe available for them to accumulate valuable work experience and potentially facilitate a transition to permanent residence.

  5. Spouses: In the forthcoming weeks, open work permits will be exclusively extended to spouses of international students enrolled in master's and doctoral programs. Eligibility for open work permits will no longer be extended to spouses of international students enrolled in other levels of study, encompassing undergraduate and college programs.

Reasons for the Change:

  • Rapid growth: Numbers reached unsustainable levels, straining housing, healthcare, and education resources.

  • Program integrity: Some institutions prioritized revenue over student success.

  • Student well-being: Concerns about inadequate support for incoming students.

Future Plans:

  • Reassess cap in 2024: Long-term sustainable levels will be determined after two years.

  • Develop a "sustainable path" for international students: Collaboration with provinces, institutions, and stakeholders to improve the program.


  • Potential challenges: Universities may face enrollment and revenue issues.

  • Improved experience: Students can expect better support and a more sustainable environment.

  • Long-term benefits: A stronger, more balanced international student program for Canada.

To manage the new cap on international student admissions, effective January 22, 2024, all IRCC study permit applications now require an attestation letter confirming provincial or territorial support. Provinces and territories will establish issuance processes by March 31, 2024

This news signifies a major shift in Canada's approach to international students. While some may see it as a step back, the government emphasizes its commitment to protecting students and building a program that benefits both students and Canada for the long term.

Watch the IG Live by our Lead Consultant to get a better understanding of the announcement.

How We Can Help?

Although Canada remains a welcoming destination for qualified individuals seeking world-class education and diverse experiences, more strategy is required now than ever.  If you're still thinking about studying in Canada, starting the application process early is crucial. We recommend scheduling a consultation with our Consultants to discuss your options and develop a personalized strategy for your Canadian study aspirations.


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