January 22nd 2024, Ottawa, ON - The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has concerns about today’s announcement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), which included a two-year cap on international students that aims to reduce 2024 study permit levels by 35 per cent. Also announced was the suspension of work permits for future students studying in private-public partnerships and spouses of future undergraduate or college attendees.
“CASA sees potential in a system with increased focus on international student quality-of-education, and decreased focus on financial dependency on international student revenue, but today’s announcement should have been accompanied by other policies protecting the well-being of current and future international students,” said Wasiimah Joomun, Executive Director of CASA. “CASA and student leaders will continue to advocate for changes that ensure quality of education and affordability for international students during this period of change.”
CASA welcomes IRCC’s continued focus on preserving the integrity of the public post-secondary education system by addressing issues with abuse of the Post-Graduate Work Permit system. However, changes to the open spousal work permit do not fall in this category and make it less likely for families to stay intact while attempting to integrate to Canada, posing undue difficulty for future Canadian talent retention.
Affordability for international students is a priority for CASA, and today’s announcement is incomplete without a focus on affordability for international students. These students, and Canadian society as a whole, would benefit from a permanent extension of international student working hours and changes to the Express Entry system to help future students of all socio-economic backgrounds access post-secondary education and afford the ever-increasing cost and debt burden of rising international tuition.
Protections for both current and graduate students is welcome news that is-line with not reneging on students who have already made substantial financial commitments in their education in Canada. The temporary nature of this cap demonstrates restraint on a difficult and multi-jurisdictional issue, and recognizes that with changes in housing environment and a well-designed Trusted Institutions Framework, there may be potential for a more sustainable, higher quality education system accessible to more international students in the future.
CASA has communicated concerns to the Minister’s office, including considerations regarding refugee and asylum claimants access, and applications from Francophone African states. CASA hopes with continued dialogue, these concerns will be addressed in the near future.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is a non-partisan, not-for-profit national student organization composed of 25 student associations across the country. Through our partnership with the Quebec Student Union/Union étudiante du Québec, CASA represents 365,000 post-secondary students across Canada.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
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