Canada to restrict study permits of international students to 2.92 lakh this year

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In an attempt to manage “unsustainable growth” in its international student program, the Justin Trudeau government in Canada has set a cap on study permit applications. Canada plans to issue approximately 292,000 study permits for college and undergraduate international students in 2024, as per the recent revelations by Canada’s Immigration Minister, Marc Miller.

Initially, a cap of around 360,000 was set, intending a 35% reduction in approved study permit numbers over the subsequent two years. 

Yet, Minister Miller has clarified that his statutory authority does not cover limiting the approved visas but only the applications processed by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). “I can only cap the applications and not the actual issuance of visas,” Miller said.

The cap was designed to control intake levels in accordance with the population across Canada. Excluding primary, secondary school, and university programs at master’s and doctorate level, it results in an estimated 360,000 approved study permits for the year 2024, considering a 60 percent approval rate.

The responsibility of study permit cap implementation lies with the provincial governments, which are expected by IRCC to issue Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) to eligible international students. 
New applicants now require both a letter of acceptance (LOA) and a PAL from Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) in each province.

Thus far, only British Columbia and Alberta have announced their systems for issuing PALs. Students who meet the eligibility criteria can apply for PALs through their DLIs and approach the provincial government. 

The federal government has given a deadline of March 31, 2024, for all provincial governments to put up and enforce their PAL delivery systems, indicating a significant change in the scenario for international students wishing to study in Canada.

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