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Canada’s New Cap and Exemptions Policy for International Students

Major Changes in Student Visas and PGWP.

Canada has unveiled major reforms to its international student scheme. From 2024, a national limit on new study permits will be set at around 364,000 which is a drop of 35% from the previous year. This action is a reaction to the significant increase in international students, which had already exceeded 800,000 in 2022 and was much higher than the figure of 450,000.

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Provincial allocations and exemptions for higher degrees

The federal government will allocate the number of study permits per province according to population size. Some provinces, such as Ontario, might lose up to half of their permits. But there is a significant exception as Master’s and PhD students will not be bound by these limits. This is consistent with the objective of giving Canadian employers access to highly qualified graduates.

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Quality and integrity in education.

These measures form part of a larger plan to ensure that the Canadian education system remains pure and does not allow itself to be used for fraudulent purposes by bogus institutions. A new “recognized institution” framework is being created to secure that only trusted educational institutions can give fast-track study permits for international students. Furthermore, there is an increased emphasis on ensuring that incoming students get the standard education they deserve.

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Changes in Post-Study Work Permits

The period of post-study work permits could be adjusted to match the duration of study in Canada. This means more years for Masters and PhD students. The government is also limiting open work permits for spouses of students in higher-level degree programs and some professional groups.



Canada’s new policy on international student visas and post-graduation work permits marks a significant shift in its approach to international education. While imposing a cap on the number of new study permits, it exempts Master’s and PhD students, reflecting a focus on attracting highly-skilled individuals. These changes, aiming to preserve the quality of education and crack down on fraudulent institutions, indicate a move towards a more sustainable and integrity-focused international education landscape in Canada.

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