(Bloomberg) -- Canada is threatening to cap the number of foreign student visas if the quality of education and housing doesn’t improve for the newcomers, a move that would limit an important source of revenue for colleges and universities.
“We are prepared to take necessary measures, including significantly limiting visas, to ensure that designated learning institutions provide adequate and sufficient student supports,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller told reporters at an Ottawa event Thursday.
The number of foreign students in Canada has nearly tripled in the past decade, reaching more than 800,000 last year. The students pay about five times as much tuition as Canadians and are also grappling with soaring housing costs due to a severe supply shortage.
Post-secondary schools, and the provinces and territories that regulate them, have until September to ensure that international students are “set up for success,” Miller said. Canada has a responsibility to support newcomers and protect them from “unscrupulous individuals” who offer inadequate living conditions with inflated prices, he added.
“There are in provinces the diploma equivalent of puppy mills that are just churning out diplomas and this is not a legitimate student experience,” he said. “There is fraud and abuse and it needs to end.”
International students pay C$36,123 ($26,204) on average for undergraduate programs, compared with C$6,834 for Canadian undergrads, according to Statistics Canada.
Read More: Canada Plans College Crackdown Amid Foreign Student Troubles
The immigration minister so far has been reluctant to impose a cap on foreign student visas. Instead, he announced a crackdown on private colleges in October, saying the government will prioritize issuing permits for students attending institutions that provide top-quality services and support, including housing.
Miller also announced an increase to the financial requirement for new study permit applicants as part of his efforts to ensure international students aren’t hit with sticker shock upon arrival in Canada. Single applicants will have to show they have C$20,635, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs, starting Jan. 1. It marks the first change to the financial requirement since the early 2000s, when it was set at C$10,000.
A policy that allows foreign students to work more than 20 hours a week while class is in session will be extended until April 30, Miller said.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
Canada's 'student trafficking' industry is backfiring on Trudeau
Do you want AI with that? Fast food chains go digital with dynamic pricing, bots
Canada tax changes to be aware of in 2024
Group RRSP use rising as retirement savings burden 'largely on employees': experts
45 cents short, $96 in fees: Court approves TD insufficient fund fees settlement
Immigration surge fuels male population boom in Canada