Canada will only approve 2,92,000 study permits for international students this year

Canada has implemented a cap on study permits, with the Trudeau government allocating approximately 292,000 permits to undergraduate and graduate students in 2024. Recent revelations from Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller have shed light on the actual number of study permits available to international college and undergraduate students in 2024: approximately 292,000, according to a recent Globe report and Mail.

This comes after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) imposed an overall cap on study permit applications, in a bid to address what they see as “unsustainable growth” in the international student program .

The initial cap, set at around 360,000, aimed to reduce the number of approved study permits by 35% over two years, highlighting the need to strengthen the integrity of the system. However, the Minister of Immigration may not have the legal authority to limit the number of visas approved, but only those applications processed by IRCC.

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During a meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM), Minister Miller clarified: “I can only stamp applications and not the actual issuance of visas.” The cap was designed to control admission levels and was distributed by population across Canada.

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Miller’s instructions excluded primary and secondary school programs as well as master’s and doctoral level university programs, which would result in approximately 360,000 study permits approved in 2024, assuming a 60% approval rate. Implementation of this study permit cap is delegated to provincial governments, with IRCC expecting them to issue Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to eligible international students. The DLIs (Designated Educational Institutions) in each province are responsible for providing PALs, signifying the student’s authorization to contribute to the issuance of the province’s study permit. To apply for a study permit under the new system, applicants now need a Letter of Acceptance (LOA). and a PAL. Previously, only the LOA was necessary. The number of allocations given to each province or territory is based on their respective populations.

Currently, British Columbia and Alberta are the only provinces to have announced their PAL issuance systems. Students will obtain PALs through their DLIs and apply to the provincial government once they meet all eligibility criteria.

The federal government has set a deadline of March 31, 2024 for all provincial governments to establish and implement their PAL delivery systems, marking a significant change in the landscape for international students wishing to study in Canada.

Zera Carpenter

"Typical thinker. Unapologetic alcoholaholic. Internet fanatic. Pop culture advocate. Tv junkie."

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