Federal government to cap international student permits amid housing crisis


The Government of Canada recently announced an immediate, two-year cap on international student permit applications and will stop giving work permits to some students after graduation.

For 2024, the federal government has projected the cap will result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits — a decrease of 35 per cent from the previous year.

Each province and territory will receive a portion of the intake cap, weighted by population. To implement the cap, every study permit application submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) now require an attestation letter from a province or territory as of January 22, 2024.

The following will not be affected by the intake cap:

  • Study permit renewals
  • Students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees
  • Students pursuing elementary and secondary education
  • Current study permit holders

The federal government also announced changes to the eligibility criteria for Canada’s Post-Graduation Work Permit Program:

  • Starting September 1, 2024, international students who begin a study program that is part of a curriculum licensing arrangement will no longer be eligible for a post-graduation work permit upon graduation.
  • Graduates of master’s degree programs will soon be eligible to apply for a three-year work permit. The current criteria bases the length of a post-graduation work permit solely on the length of an individual’s study program.
  • Open work permits will soon only be available to spouses of international students in master’s and doctoral programs. The spouses of international students in other levels of study will no longer be eligible.