Canada’s Strategy to Address Living Costs: Slashing Foreign Student Visas by 35%

Canada Living Cost

In a bold move to tackle the escalating cost-of-living crisis, Canada announced a significant reduction in visas granted to international students. This decision, aimed at alleviating housing, healthcare, and other service pressures, marks a pivotal moment in the nation’s approach to immigration and education.

Details of the Visa Reduction Plan

The Canadian government, under the guidance of Immigration Minister Marc Miller, declared a 35% cut in new study visas starting from 2024. This reduction limits the number of new visas to 364,000, starkly contrasting the nearly 560,000 visas issued the previous year.

Miller pointed out the misuse of the international students program by certain institutions, which offer low-quality, or “sham,” degrees. These practices have burdened the housing and healthcare sectors and diluted the quality of education offered to foreign students.

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet retreat in Montreal will focus on tackling affordability and housing issues, as per a government statement. The current situation is critical, with about 1 million foreign students in Canada. Without intervention, this number was expected to increase continually.

Background and Implications of the Policy

Canada’s population growth has been notable, with an increase of approximately 1 million people last year, pushing the population to a record 40 million. This growth and rising living costs, including housing expenses, has put immense pressure on Canadians. TD Bank Group chief economist Beata Caranci highlighted the imbalance between the number of people entering the country and the housing available.

Miller criticized certain educational institutions for exploiting foreign students by accepting high tuition fees without providing substantial education. He emphasized that the international student program intends not to serve as a backdoor for immigration through substandard educational programs.

Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the opposition Conservative Party of Canada, criticized the government’s lax approach in granting study permits to students attending fraudulent schools. Furthermore, Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, noted that while there is some debate, the consensus among economists and the public is that the influx of foreign students has significantly impacted rent prices.

Despite these changes, Canada’s immigration targets are expected to remain high, driven by economic necessities and an aging population reliant on government-funded social services.

Conclusion: Addressing Economic Realities

Canada’s decision to cut foreign student visas by 35% is a response to the intertwined challenges of immigration, education quality, and rising living costs. While this policy aims to provide immediate relief, especially in the housing sector, it also discusses sustainable immigration and education practices that align with the country’s economic realities and social welfare needs.