Canada is considering taking decisive action by potentially capping the number of foreign student visas if improvements aren’t made in the quality of education and housing for newcomers. Immigration Minister Marc Miller stated that measures, including significant visa limitations, may be implemented to ensure designated learning institutions offer sufficient student support. The number of foreign students in Canada has nearly tripled in the past decade, surpassing 800,000 last year. These students pay significantly higher tuition fees than Canadians and face challenges with soaring housing costs due to a severe supply shortage.
Post-secondary schools and the provinces and territories overseeing them have until September to enhance conditions for international students, setting them up for success. Miller emphasized Canada’s responsibility to support newcomers and protect them from unscrupulous individuals providing inadequate living conditions at inflated prices. He highlighted the existence of diploma mills in some provinces, equating them to illegitimate student experiences fraught with fraud and abuse that need to be addressed.
International students in Canada pay an average of C$36,123 ($26,204) for undergraduate programs, significantly more than the C$6,834 paid by Canadian undergraduates, according to Statistics Canada. In efforts to maintain quality and financial transparency, Miller announced an increase in the financial requirement for new study permit applicants, the first such change since the early 2000s. Single applicants must show they have C$20,635, in addition to their first-year tuition and travel costs, starting Jan. 1.
Moreover, Miller revealed an extension of the policy allowing foreign students to work more than 20 hours a week during class sessions, which will now be in effect until April 30. This move aims to strike a balance between academic pursuits and students’ financial needs.
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