The Canadian government is contemplating implementing a limit on the number of international students residing in the country, citing the financial capacity of immigrants as a key factor. Canadian Immigration Minister Marc Miller revealed this information during an interview on CTV’s Question Period with host Vassy Kapelos on Sunday.
Miller stated that the government would explore the possibility of such a measure in the coming months but did not disclose specific reduction figures. He highlighted the need for discussions with provincial governments to ensure that those not effectively managing immigration volumes take corrective measures.
Expressing concern about the escalating volume of international students in Canada, Miller characterized the current system as having become unmanageable. Criticism has been directed at the Canadian government for welcoming a growing number of immigrants, both permanent and temporary residents, amid a severe housing shortage.
Recent reports, citing internal documents obtained through an access to information request, revealed that public servants warned the federal government two years ago that ambitious immigration targets could jeopardize housing affordability.
The Liberal government aims to admit 485,000 immigrants in the current year, with targets set at 500,000 for both 2025 and 2026. Temporary residents, predominantly international students and migrant workers, contribute to this influx, with over 300,000 arriving in Canada in the third quarter of the previous year.
Miller indicated that he would explore the possibility of setting a cap on international student numbers in the first and second quarters of the current year to alleviate housing demand. When questioned about the delay in considering a cap despite earlier discussions, Miller emphasized the need to assess federal-level numbers before delving into specific actions taken by academic institutions across provinces.
He stressed the importance of ensuring that individuals have the financial means to come to Canada and verifying offer letters. Miller acknowledged that a cap on international students would not be a one-size-fits-all solution to housing shortages nationwide.
While recognizing the imbalance between the increasing number of international students and the federal government’s housing initiatives, Miller argued that addressing housing was just one aspect of immigration targets. He underscored the need to lower the average age of the workforce, without providing specific details, stating that the federal government is actively considering and will continue to consider implementing a cap on international students. Discussions on potential reductions will be conducted in collaboration with provincial counterparts.