In an interview on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, the Minister of Immigration, Marc Miller, stated that discussions with provincial governments are essential "to make sure that the provinces that have not been doing their jobs actually rein in those numbers on a pure volume basis."
Referring to the growing number of international students in Canada, Miller expressed concern about the escalating volume, describing it as a system that has "gotten out of control."
Previously, it was reported that Canada increased the "cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants," applicable to international students, from $10,000 to $20,000 starting January 1, 2024.
Responding to this development, Miller acknowledged the criticism faced by the Canadian government for welcoming a rising number of immigrants amid an acute housing shortage in the country.
Internal documents obtained through an access to information request revealed that public servants had warned the government two years ago that ambitious immigration targets could jeopardize housing affordability.
Despite the warning, the Liberals have set targets to bring in 485,000 immigrants this year and 500,000 in both 2025 and 2026. Temporary residents, including international students and migrant workers, accounted for over 300,000 arrivals in Canada in the third quarter of the previous year.
Miller indicated that he will explore the possibility of setting a cap on international students in the first and second quarters of this year to alleviate the housing demand. When asked about the timing of considering a cap, Miller mentioned the need to address federal-level numbers before examining the actions of individual academic institutions in different provinces, which might be profiting from an increased intake of 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.