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Study Permits 2024 Two-Year Cap policy

Study Permits and the Two-Year Cap policy

Study permit applications in 2024 will be limited to 360,000 cap and will require an Attestation Letter from the Ministry of Higher Education. In an attempt to curb the influx of international students and address concerns about the housing market, Immigration Minister Marc Miller has announced a two-year cap on study permits in Canada. The decision, outlined in the News Release on January 22, 2024 and the Backgrounder, is part of a broader effort to target “bad actors” within the institutional landscape and mitigate the impact of soaring international student numbers on various sectors of the Canadian economy.

Understanding the Study Permit Caps

The federal government has set a cap of approximately 360,000 undergraduate study permits for 2024, marking a 35% reduction from the previous year. Each province and territory will receive a share based on population, leading to more substantial decreases in regions facing unsustainable growth in the international student population. Some provinces may experience up to a 50% reduction in permits.

To ensure the quality of education, provinces and territories will decide how permits are distributed among universities and colleges within their jurisdictions. The cap will remain in effect for two years, with a reassessment for 2025 scheduled at the end of 2024.

The cap does not affect study permit renewals or current holders, nor does it impact master’s and doctoral degree applications or elementary and secondary education.

Addressing Unscrupulous Practices

Minister Miller emphasized the need to target institutions taking advantage of international students by operating under-resourced campuses and offering fake degrees. The government’s focus is on maintaining the integrity of the international student system and ensuring that students receive the promised quality of education. To this end, an attestation letter from a province or territory is now a mandatory requirement for all study permit applications submitted after January 22, 2024.

Most students will be required to provide an attestation letter from the province or territory where they plan to study.

How to obtain an attestation letter

Each province or territory is in the process of establishing a procedure for obtaining an attestation letter, with the expectation that these processes will be operational by March 31, 2024.

Any applications received on or after January 22, 2024, without an attestation letter will be returned, unless the applicant is exempt. Exemptions apply to individuals who fall under the following categories and do not require an attestation letter when applying for a study permit:

  • Minor children applying to study in a primary or secondary school (kindergarten to grade 12)
  • Students applying for a Masters, PhD, or other post-graduate program
  • Students applying to extend their study permit

Changes to Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWP)

Starting September 1, 2024, certain programs will no longer be eligible for PGWP, including

  • international students enrolled in programs as part of a curriculum licensing arrangement and
  • students physically attending a private college licensed to deliver the curriculum of an associated public college.

Graduates of master’s and other short graduate-level programs will soon be eligible to apply for an extended 3-year work permit under PGWP.

Limited open work permit issuance to spouses of international students

In the weeks to come, open work permits will only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs.

New minimum amount of funds for study permit applications

In order to ensure that international students have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses in Canada, Immigration Canada has also announced a new financial requirement for study permit applicants. Starting from January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living threshold will be increased and updated annually based on the low-income cut-off (LICO) published by Statistics Canada.

The cost-of-living threshold for study permit applicants has remained unchanged for the past 20 years, when it was established at $10,000 for a single applicant. However, this amount does not reflect the current cost of living in Canada. For 2024, a single applicant will need to demonstrate that they have at least $20,635, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. This change will affect new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.

For more detailed information, please feel free to contact our office or complete our online assessment questionnaire: On-line Assessment Questionnaire