Ontario colleges blast federal cap on international students: ‘chaos’

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Ontario colleges say students are being hurt by federal study permit cap
RELATED: Ontario universities say the federal government's restrictions on international students are going too far. Colin D'Mello has the story – Jan 25, 2024

Colleges in Ontario are blasting the federal government’s cap on international students, warning it will create “chaos” and “upheaval” and arguing the move came without consultation.

In a fierce statement, Colleges Ontario claimed the recently announced cap amounts to “a moratorium by stealth” on international students that could damage the province’s labour market and hurt education.

The group said the cap had led to “attacks” on the public college system, which could undermine its credibility.

The federal government announced on Monday it would cap the number of international students coming to Canada, a policy change that could cut Ontario’s allocation in half.

Data from Statistics Canada shows that just over 300,000 study permits were granted to people studying in Ontario in 2023.

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“We believe this blunt approach does not adequately consider the talent needs of the province of Ontario — and does not consider the many thousands of students who will now be left in limbo with their hopes on hold,” Colleges Ontario said.

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The group has called on the federal government to delay the implementation of its cap until a provincial process has been worked out to manage the issue.

Colleges Ontario said the nature of the announcement has led to “total chaos for students” and means the “entire system for Ontario is frozen.”

The federal government said the cap was necessary because the number of international students was spiralling out of control.

“In order to maintain a sustainable level of temporary residence in Canada, as well to ensure that there is no further growth in the number of international students in Canada for 2024, we are setting a national application intake cap for a period of two years for 2024,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said Monday.

“In the spirit of fairness, we are also allocating the cap space by province based on population,” Miller added, saying that “some provinces will see much more significant reductions.”

In its statement, Colleges Ontario also said international students were key to Ontario’s labour market.

“Ontario cannot grow, attract investment and solve its talent needs without college graduates,” the group said.

“College graduates fill key needs across sectors that include advanced manufacturing, mining, the electrical vehicle industry, early childhood, health care, housing construction and others that our economy depends on.”


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