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Canada Sets New Limits on Foreign Student Program for 2024

From: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Press Release January 22, 2024 – Ottawa


Foreign students contribute significantly to Canada's diverse landscape, but recent surges have pressured various services. The Canadian government is acting to balance foreign student growth, maintaining system integrity and student welfare.

Key Changes:

  • New Study Permit Cap: The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, has introduced a national cap on study permit applications, set to result in around 360,000 permits in 2024—a 35% reduction from the previous year. This change will notably impact provinces and territories experiencing excessive growth in foreign student numbers. However, the cap excludes renewals and applies neither to primary, secondary, master's, nor doctoral students, nor current permit holders.

  • Provincial and Territorial Allocation: Starting January 22, 2024, study permit applications must be accompanied by an attestation letter from the respective province or territory. Provinces and territories have until March 31, 2024, to establish their attestation letter processes.

  • Two-Year Duration and Future Plans: These measures are temporary, spanning two years, with a reassessment planned for 2025. Efforts will focus on creating sustainable foreign student pathways, including frameworks for recognized institutions and ensuring sufficient student housing.

Revisions to Post-Graduation Work Permit Program:

  1. Restrictions on Program Agreements: Starting September 1, 2024, foreign students in programs under study program usage agreements will be ineligible for post-graduation work permits.

  2. Extended Work Permits for Postgraduates: Graduates of master's and other short postgraduate programs will be eligible for three-year work permits.

  3. Spousal Work Permit Eligibility: Only spouses of master's or doctoral students will be eligible for open work permits moving forward.

Purpose and Impact:

Today's announcements, coupled with ongoing reforms, are designed to support genuine foreign students while moderating their numbers to relieve pressure on housing, healthcare, and other services.


  • "While foreign students are integral to our nation's diversity, it is crucial to ensure they have access to resources that guarantee a rewarding educational experience. These measures are steps towards balancing Canada's needs and upholding our immigration system's integrity." - The Honourable Marc Miller.

Fact Highlights:

  • Efforts will continue to offer clear permanent residency paths for skilled students and to integrate foreign students into the Canadian workforce.

  • Recent measures include updated financial requirements reflecting Canada's cost of living and direct confirmation of acceptance letters by designated learning institutions to prevent fraud.

  • In 2024, targeted pilot projects will support underrepresented foreign student groups in Canadian education.

Guidance Instructions for Next Part:

  1. Focus on Detailed Impact Analysis: Elaborate on how these changes will affect students, institutions, and Canadian society.

  2. Highlight Responses from Stakeholders: Include reactions from educational institutions, students, and immigration experts.

  3. Discuss Long-Term Implications: Explore the potential long-term effects of these policies on Canada's educational landscape and international relations.

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