IRCC Announces 2-Year Cap on Admissions for International Students: Implications and Insights

The IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada)¸led by Minister Marc Miller has just announced some big news that will change the game for international students: starting in 2024, there’s will be a two-year cap on the number of new study permits issued. This is a bold step to strengthen the pillars of Canada’s student visa program, with a laser focus on quality education and solid support for students hailing from across the globe. This new policy aims to tackle issues that involve inadequate resources as well as high fees set by some private educational institutions. Starting 2024, we will begin to see a cutback of study permits by 35%, totaling about 364,000 fewer permits than the previous years before. Students will now also require the needed thumbs-up from their province through the acquisition of an attestation letter ensuring everyone’s getting a fair shake when it comes to education standards. In this guide, our team at Immigration Nation unpacks what this all means for the people it affects most, New international students, educational institutions, and the broader educational sector in Canada.

Changes to Eligibility Criteria for Post Graduation Work Permits

Get ready for some tweaks to the PGWP program, too. These changes will mainly affect the spouses of international students and how long they can work based on the length of their spouses study program. Spouses of students particularly enrolled in Masters or Doctoral programs have priority access to open work permits, which comes as a significant shift from previous policies. These changes aim to align themselves with the IRCC’s broader strategy to improve academic support and the quality of education being offered to the international students of Canada.

International Students in Canada: A Closer Look

Canadas popularity as a study destination for international students has increased over the years, with over 800,000 admitted in 2022 and future predications rising to 900,000 in 2023. With IRCC’s recent policies and measures including doubling the living expense requirements and shaking hands on a Trusted Framework Agreement with DLI’s, Canada’s aim is to give international students a leg up to ensure they get the most out of their time academically and beyond.

Minimum funds needed to support yourself as a student. (Including family members who come with you)

Before January 1st, 2024

Persons coming to CanadaAmount of funds required per year (not including tuition)
You (the student)CAN$10,000
First family memberCAN$4,000
Every additional accompanying family memberCAN$3,000

If you, along with two members of your family, are planning to relocate to a province in Canada (excluding Quebec) for a year, the estimated living expenses would be as follows:

  • For the student: $10,000
  • For the first family member: $4,000
  • For the second family member: $3,000

This brings the total estimated living expenses for the year to $17,000.

On or After January 1st, 2024

Number of family members (including the applicant)Amount of funds required per year (not including tuition)
If more than 7 people, each additional family memberCAN$5,559

For a year-long stay in a Canadian province (excluding Quebec) with two family members, the estimated total living expenses would be approximately $31,583.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will the study permit cap affect my PGWP?
    • If you started studying before the first leaf falls in September 2024, breathe easy; you’re not on the new rule’s radar. This is for the newbies starting after that.
  2. What’s this provincial approval all about?
    • Each Canadian province is creating a process to issue attestation letters and prepping up to give educational programs the green light. Expect to see this process in full swing by the end of March 2024, making sure your study permit is backed by an official nod.
  3. I’m crossing my fingers for my May 2024 visa results. Do I need this attestation letter?
    • If you got your application in before January 22, 2024, you’re golden—no letter needed.
  4. What if my college is private?
    • Applications to private colleges are getting an extra once-over, especially those tied up in partnerships or special agreements. It’s wise to double-check your college’s status and how it plays into your work plans after you toss your grad cap.


Putting a cap on international student admissions for two years is more than just a policy change—it’s a strategic shift to ensure that students who come to Canada get nothing short of an excellent education and the resources they need to succeed. It’s about quality, fairness, and planning for the future. As these new rules take shape, staying informed is key. Need some help with your study permit application? Our team of immigration experts is here to guide you through every step of the way, ensuring your application is prepared for success!

Book a Free Assessment now and let our experts guide you TODAY!


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