A Rising Concern
It is Marc Miller, the Immigration Minister of Canada that puts forward a major issue facing the country as a result of international students’ influx. During a recent CTV news interview, Miller pointed out the sharp increase in international students, which has increased more than threefold over the past decade to reach 900,00 per expectations mid-23. This remarkable rise has led the minister to encourage provincial governments into regulating these sums in a more sustainable manner.
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Provincial Responsibilities and the DLI Model
Education – whether post-secondary or not – is a provincial responsibility in Canada. Thus, it is left to the provinces to determine which schools could allow international students as Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs). Miller identified the DLI model in some provinces as a factor contributing to the large number of international students. He stressed the importance of open and honest debates between provinces and DLIs, especially those benefiting from the scheme, to safeguard fair practice and stop institutions from abusing this framework.
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Possible Cap on Study Permits
The discussion included a proposal on limiting the quantity of study permits released by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Miller brought up this option if provinces fail to act accordingly, but he made it clear that it will not be a universal solution. In October last year, he voiced his discomfort with the imposition of such a cap as it would unfairly punish obedient institutions.
Measures to Enhance Program Integrity
The integrity of the International Student program has been one thing that IRCC is actively working on. For example, an applicant’s LOA is now needed to be confirmed by DLIs when the latter apply for a study permit. Besides, the proposed Trusted Framework Agreement with DLIs due to be implemented in Spring 2024 is aimed at speeding up permit processing rates for those institutions that prove reliable partnerships. Second, to better assist international students IRCC has planned on increasing the living requirements of study permit applicants from $10, 000.
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Canada’s response to the accumulation of international students has been a careful balance between sustaining educational excellence and ensuring robust global education performance. Of course, recent statements by the Immigration Minister Marc Miller are reinforced with a reference to provincial involvement and responsible governance in order that both international students as well as Canadian educational institutions reap profits from such changes. The continuation of such discussions and the proposed actions clearly demonstrate Canada desire for a comprehensive, equitable learning environment.
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