New policy steers international students away from Canadian post-secondary education

The road to immigrating to Canada with a study permit is narrowing



Many prospective foreign students are changing their minds about moving to Canada after a new federal government policy that limits the number of international study permits issued each year.

Marc Miller, minister of immigration, announced in January that the federal government will be accepting 360,000 approved study permits over the next two years. This is a 35 per cent decrease from the number of permits allowed last year.

International students choose Canada for their higher education because of the higher quality of life, affordable tuition and better career prospects. International students say the new policy is a major obstacle in their plans to study in Canada. Langara College is home to more than 6,100 international students from 80 different countries.

Prospective Punjabi students change their minds about coming to Canada

Gursimranpreet Kaur, a student from Punjab, India, said she had always intended to study in Canada. “Everything, including the test and my finances, is already planned. Furthermore, I had no plans to continue my education in India, which made it extremely difficult for me to make decisions on what to do with my future academic endeavors,” she said.

Harmanpreet Kaur, another student from Punjab, India who hoped to better her career and education prospects, was planning to come to Canada. “I decided to study in British Columbia because I had heard from a lot of people that there were lots of programs available to start a business career. However, in compliance with the new Canadian government restrictions, I gave up on my plan to move overseas,” she said.

Less immigration means more opportunity at home

Some international students in Canada say they will benefit from the new policy, especially when it comes to getting a job, since a lot of them rely on part-time work to pay off their tuition and afford rent. “I would say that [change in policy] gives out more and more opportunities to work because less immigrants coming in means people who are already in B.C. have, like, open job opportunities,” said Garibul Singh, a computer science student at Langara and a member of the Langara Punjabi Association.

Others worry about their families back home who were planning to come to Canada but cannot now. “Most of the students rely on their relatives to come to Canada, especially Punjabi students from India. They mostly rely on relatives to support them when they come over,” said Gurkirat Singh, a computer science student at Langara who is also from the Langara Punjabi Association.

Langara College declined to comment on what new restrictions could mean for the college’s budget and the potential loss of fees from fewer international students coming to Canada. Some students think it would be unfair for the college to increase tuition fees to make up for the funding they would lose from the international student revenue.

“As an international student, it’s already tough living here,“ said Garibul Singh, who is worried about tuition fee increases. “I would say many people would just transfer to other colleges which has lower fees.”

Louis Bergeron presents Yashvika Grover and prospective international students.

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