Canada extends ban on foreign ownership of housing

The housing crisis gripping the nation has been attributed to a confluence of factors, including a surge in migration and international student enrollment.

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Canada has extended its ban on foreign ownership of housing for two more years in response to concerns about housing affordability.

The housing crisis gripping the nation has been attributed to a confluence of factors, including a surge in migration and international student enrollment, which have significantly heightened the demand for housing, the Economic Times reported.

The increased demand has collided with rising construction costs, resulting in a severe shortage of affordable housing options.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland underscored the government’s resolve to address the housing affordability crisis, emphasizing the need to utilize all available measures. 

“As part of using all possible tools to make housing more affordable for Canadians, the ban on foreign ownership of Canadian housing, which is currently set to expire on January 1, 2025, will be extended to January 1, 2027,” Freeland said in a statement.

Freeland further elaborated on the rationale behind the extension, stating, “By extending the foreign buyer ban, we will ensure houses are used as homes for Canadian families to live in and do not become a speculative financial asset class.”

She expressed concerns about residents being priced out of their local housing markets, underscoring the necessity of preserving housing affordability for Canadians.

The Canadian government has acknowledged the exacerbating effects of foreign ownership on local housing markets across various cities and towns nationwide. 

In addition to extending the ban, Canada has implemented measures to regulate the influx of newcomers contributing to the housing crisis, including imposing a two-year cap on international student permits and restricting the issuance of post-graduation work permits to some students.

The housing challenge is also believed to be further compounded by rapid population growth driven by immigration, placing strain on essential services such as healthcare and education.

Temporary cap on study visas

Last month, the IRCC imposed a temporary cap on study visas for international students this year, affecting approximately 360,000 study permits, as reported by the CIC News. This marks a 35 percent reduction from the previous year and targets the “unsustainable” growth in provinces experiencing a significant increase in international student populations.

The cap is enforced nationwide and at the provincial/territorial levels, with exceptions made for current permit holders, renewals, and individuals pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees.

Effective Jan. 22, study permit applications now necessitate an attestation letter from a province or territory, to be acquired by March 31. IRCC also plans to reassess the cap in 2025, demonstrating a commitment to ongoing policy evaluation.

Furthermore, changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will come into effect in September. 

Students enrolled in programs under curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer qualify for PGWP, addressing concerns regarding oversight in private colleges.

However, graduates from master’s programs or short graduate-level programs will qualify for a three-year work permit, offering enhanced opportunities for Canadian work experience and facilitating the transition to permanent residency.

IRCC said that further details regarding open work permits for spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs (excluding other levels of study) will be forthcoming in the following weeks.

Updates on study permit applications

The IRCC also recently announced plans to set a cap of 606,250 study permit applications for 2024, differing from the 360,000 previously mentioned.

 The new instructions from IRCC specify that they will process a maximum of 606,250 applications, regardless of approval outcomes. 

The cap may be subject to adjustments based on subsequent ministerial instructions. 

Compared to the previous year, data showed a significant decrease in both processing and approval rates for study permit applications. 

The new cap of 360,000 will be distributed among provinces based on population. Implementation will involve introducing a system of attestation letters.

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos

Jaleen Ramos has been a professional journalist for five years now. She has contributed and covered stories for premier Philippine dailies and publications, and has traveled to different parts of the country to capture and tell the most significant stories happening.

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