Posted on January 22, 2024

Canada Minister Says Study Permits to Students from India Drop Due to Dispute

Steve Scherer, Reuters, January 17, 2024

The number of study permits Canada issued to Indian students fell sharply late last year after India ejected Canadian diplomats who would process the permits and fewer Indian students applied due to a diplomatic dispute over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada, a top Canadian official told Reuters.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller added in an interview that he believes the number of study permits to Indians is unlikely to rebound soon. Diplomatic tensions erupted after Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September said there was evidence connecting Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.


Those factors led to an 86% drop in study permits issued to Indians in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous quarter, to 14,910 from 108,940, according to official data that have not been previously reported.


Indians have formed the largest group of international students in Canada in recent years, with more than 41% – or 225,835 – of all permits going to them in 2022.


The Canadian government also has been seeking to reduce the overall number of international students entering the country, in part as a response to an ongoing housing shortage.

“Right now we have a challenge with the sheer volume” of students coming in, Miller said. “It’s just gotten out of control and needs to be reduced – I would say – significantly over a short period of time.”

Miller said the government would introduce other measures to lower the volume of international students during the first half of this year, including a possible cap.

Canada is a popular destination for international students since it is relatively easy to obtain work permits after finishing courses.

The government intends to address “a very generous” program for postgraduate work permits and to crack down on “fly-by-night” universities, called designated learning institutes, he said.