Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students who want to pursue higher education. In 2022, over 800,000 foreign students were in Canada, up from 214,000 a decade earlier. However, the recent announcement by the federal government to cap the number of undergraduate study permits for two years has sparked some concern and confusion among prospective students. In this article, we will explain why the cap is justified and why postgraduate students have nothing to worry about.
The rationale behind the cap
The federal government says that the cap on undergraduate study permits is a temporary measure to address the pressure on housing and healthcare in the country, as well as to ensure the integrity and quality of the education system. Immigration Minister Marc Miller said that some private institutions have taken advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses, lacking supports for students and charging high tuition fees, while significantly increasing their intake of international students. He also said that there are some degree-granting institutions that are giving fake business degrees to students who hope to stay in Canada.
The cap will result in a 35% reduction in approved study permits for 2024, with each province and territory being allotted a portion of the total, determined by population and current student intake. The provinces and territories will then decide how to distribute these permits across their universities and colleges. The cap will only apply to students at a diploma or undergraduate programme, and will not affect students applying for study permit renewals.
The government says that the cap will help protect students from bad actors and ensure sustainable immigration, while also easing the demand for housing and healthcare services. Canada has seen an unprecedented population growth in the last decade, largely driven by newcomers, which has contributed to the housing crisis and the strain on the public health system1. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimates that the country needs 3.5 million more housing units by 2030 to restore affordability.
The benefits for postgraduate students
While the cap on undergraduate study permits may seem alarming, postgraduate students have nothing to fear. In fact, they have many reasons to choose Canada as their international education destination. Here are some of the benefits that Canada offers to postgraduate students:
• Flexible and high quality education options: Canada is known for offering high quality education and research opportunities at the postgraduate level. You can choose from more than 16,000 university programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, in various fields of study3. You can also transfer between types and levels of education without running into roadblocks common in other parts of the world. Seven Canadian universities are ranked among the top 200 in the world.
• Affordable option: In Canada, you can access scholarships and work opportunities to help pay for your education. Many programs also offer co-op work placements or internships to get hands-on experience while you study. Most international students are eligible to work during their studies and can get a Post-Graduation Work Permit after their studies3. The tuition fees for postgraduate programs are generally lower than colleges and universities in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.
• Long-term return on your investment: A Canadian postgraduate degree is internationally recognized and valued by employers around the world. Whether you decide to stay in Canada or return to your home country, your Canadian education and network will help prepare you for the future. A recent study shows that 60% of international students who were employed during their period of study or after graduation became landed immigrants within 10 years of having obtained their first study permit.
• Renowned quality of life: Canada is an open, safe and culturally diverse society. You will feel at home in both our communities and classrooms. In Canada, there are more than 250 ethnic origins along with 200 languages from around the world and 70 Indigenous languages spoken. You will also enjoy the same rights and freedoms that protect all Canadians: respect for human rights, equality, diversity and a stable, peaceful society3. Canada ranks in third place globally for the best quality of life.
• Memorable adventures: Canada is a vast and beautiful country with four distinct seasons. You can choose from urban and rural areas across our provinces and territories. No matter where you live in Canada, you can explore vibrant communities and spectacular landscapes. In Canada, you also have a unique opportunity to study in either of Canada’s official languages, English or French, from kindergarten through to postgraduate studies.
Canada is still a favoured destination for international students who want to pursue postgraduate studies. The cap on undergraduate study permits is a temporary and justified measure that will not affect postgraduate students. On the contrary, postgraduate students can enjoy many benefits that Canada offers, such as flexible and high quality education options, affordable option, long-term return on your investment, renowned quality of life and memorable adventures. If you are interested in studying in Canada, contact Japafora Consulting on WhatsApp (+234 810 366 8908) for more information and guidance.