IRCC sets 2024 study permit cap at 606,250

The new instructions outline that IRCC will process a maximum of 606,250 applications, irrespective of the approval outcome on each application.

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The Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has outlined its study permit plans for 2024, setting a cap of 606,250 applications to be considered throughout the year. 

The cap deviates from the previously mentioned 360,000 figure, which specifically pertained to approved study permit applications, the CIC News reported.

Based on the ministerial instructions released by IRCC, a maximum of 606,250 study permit applications will be entertained in 2024. This cap differs from the previously mentioned figure of 360,000, which specifically pertains to approved study permit applications. 

The new instructions outline that IRCC will process a maximum of 606,250 applications, irrespective of the approval outcome on each application.

Moreover, these instructions indicate flexibility, stating that the cap may be subject to amendments based on subsequent instructions from the minister. 

This implies that the initial cap of 606,250 may be adjusted if the 360,000 approved study permit applications cap is not reached within the processing limit.

Comparing these figures to the previous year, data from Canada’s open government data portal revealed that 579,075 study permit applications were approved in 2023, out of a total of 814,317 processed applications, resulting in a 71 percent approval rate. 

The 2024 limits signify substantial decreases in both processing and approvals for study permit applications.

The new study permit cap of 360,000 will be distributed among Canada’s provinces, weighted by their respective populations. Provinces with higher populations, such as Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, are expected to receive a larger allocation of study permits.

To implement this policy, a system of attestation letters will be introduced. 

Applicants must provide a letter of acceptance (LOA) from their designated learning institution (DLI) and an attestation letter from the province where the DLI is located. 

These attestation letters, to be signed by the provincial or territorial government, confirm the applicant’s space within the province or territory’s allotted study permit approval cap, including the full name, date of birth, and address of the applicant per the ministerial instructions.

IRCC’s temporary cap

The IRCC has recently introduced a temporary cap on study visas for international students this year, affecting approximately 360,000 study permits. This reflects a 35 percent decrease from the previous year, targeting “unsustainable” growth in provinces with a significant increase in the international student population.

The cap applies nationwide and at the provincial/territorial levels, with exemptions for current permit holders, renewals, and those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees.

As of Jan. 22, study permit applications now require an attestation letter from a province or territory, to be obtained by March 31. IRCC also plans to review the cap in 2025, demonstrating a commitment to ongoing policy evaluations.

In addition, changes to the eligibility criteria for the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) will be implemented starting in September. Students in programs under curriculum licensing arrangements will no longer qualify for PGWP due to concerns related to oversight in private colleges.

However, graduates from master’s programs or short graduate-level programs will be eligible for a three-year work permit, providing expanded opportunities for Canadian work experience and transition to permanent residency.

IRCC has stated that more details on open work permits for spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs (excluding other levels of study) will be released in the coming weeks. 

Over 1 million int’l students

Canada has officially crossed the one-million mark in its international student population, reaching 1,028,850 as of December 2023, according to data from IRCC.

The provinces with the highest concentrations of international students are Ontario (526,015), British Columbia (202,565), and Quebec (117,925), which also host the majority of Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs).

In an interview on Jan. 14, Immigration Minister Marc Miller attributed the surge to the permissive DLI model in specific provinces and urged collaboration between provincial governments and DLIs to address the escalating numbers.

In 2022, Canada hosted 807,260 international students, and by September 2023, the number holding valid Canadian study permits exceeded expectations at 1,015,744.

Concerns about the rapid growth have prompted discussions on implementing a cap on study permits for international students, putting pressure on the federal government to address housing affordability issues and strains on the healthcare system.

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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