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The government of Canada is preparing to implement a national cap aimed at reducing the intake of international students into the country.

The immigration minister, Marc Miller, stated in an interview on CTV’s Question Period that the Canadian government will hold discussions with provincial governments to address the need for a national cap, ensuring that provinces effectively manage the intake of international students.

“The volume is disconcerting,” commented Minister Marc Miller, expressing concern about the number of international students in Canada. He emphasized the need to address the situation, describing the system as having gotten out of control.

Recall that Canada had raised its “cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants,” basically for international students, to $20,000 from $10,000 starting from January 1, 2024.

In response to the recent development, Minister Marc Miller acknowledged the criticism faced by the Canadian government for admitting a growing number of immigrants, both permanent and temporary residents, amid an acute housing shortage in the country.

Miller said he’ll be looking in both the first and second quarter of this year at possibly setting a cap on international students to help reduce the demand for housing.

When asked why his government is only considering a cap now, when the idea of one has been floated for months, Miller said there’s a need to sort out numbers on a federal level before looking with “a little more granularity” at what individual academic institutions are doing in different provinces, possibly profiting off bringing in more international students.

“We need to be doing our jobs and making sure that we have a system that actually makes sure people have a financial capability to come to Canada, that we’re actually verifying offer letters,” Miller said.

“And now it’s time for us to have a conversation about volumes and the impact that that is having in certain areas.”

A cap on international students would not be a “one-size-fits-all solution” to housing shortages across Canada, Miller noted.

When pressed further on the number of international students coming to Canada far outpacing the number of homes the federal government has announced it’s planning to help build, Miller also said housing is only part of the calculation when it comes to immigration targets. “The pressing need to bring down the average age of the workforce also needs to be taken into consideration,” he said.

While he wouldn’t give specifics, Miller said a cap on international students is something the federal government is considering, “and will continue to consider.”

“We have a sense of what those numbers would look like, what the reduction of those numbers look like, out of courtesy to my colleagues in the provinces, those are discussions that we’re first going to have around the negotiating table,” he said, adding the financial needs of academic institutions is also a factor.

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