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Easing Student Visa Crackdown and Canada’s Population Growth

Easing Student Visa Crackdown and Canada’s Population Growth

Canada’s recent crackdown on the higher education industry is beginning to impact the number of foreign students, indicating a potential slowdown in the country’s rapid population growth.

According to Statistics Canada, the first quarter saw a decline of 24,594 people holding only study permits, compared to a 16,003 drop during the same period last year. This slight reduction has contributed to a slower overall growth in temporary immigration, with the country adding 131,810 non-permanent residents, marking one of the lowest quarterly net increases since early 2022.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government plans to cut international student permits by 35% from last year to manage the post-pandemic population surge and address public concerns over housing shortages and public service strains. While the cap on student visas will not take full effect until later this year, the policy has already disrupted study visa applications and recruitment processes, making Canada a less attractive option for those seeking education as a pathway to permanent residency.

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Despite the crackdown, the population grew by 0.6% in the first quarter to 41 million, matching the previous quarter’s growth rate but slower than the 1.1% seen in the third quarter of 2023. Much of this growth comes from temporary immigration, including foreign students, workers, and asylum claimants. Without these temporary immigrants, the first quarter growth rate would have been 0.3%, aligning with historical growth rates from 2001 to 2021.

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