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International student numbers could be restricted further, immigration minister says in Halifax

The federal government is not ruling out further restrictions on international students as it works to stabilize Canada’s housing shortage.

During an announcement in Halifax, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said the international student cap could expand if Canada doesn’t get a handle on its housing shortage.

“I know how I want it to play out, and ideally in two years we won’t have to make any adjustments,” he said.

His comments come after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that the government needs to rein in the number of temporary immigrants coming to the country.

“To give an example, in 2017, two per cent of Canada’s population was made up of temporary immigrants. Now we’re at 7.5 per cent of our population comprised of temporary immigrants. That’s something we need to get back under control,” Trudeau said during a stop in Nova Scotia on Tuesday.

Miller confirmed Wednesday that the country has seen a significant jump in its numbers.

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“Clearly, what the prime minister highlighted is accurate,” said Miller.

The federal government is imposing a 35 per cent cut on international study permits in Nova Scotia, curbing the growth the province’s universities and colleges have seen as a result of soaring international enrolment.

Provincial Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong said last month that the province will be able to distribute 12,900 study permit applications in 2024, down from about 19,900 last year. That means a maximum of 12,900 international students can apply to study in the province.

Miller said the current two-year cap may need to be expanded to include other levels of education.

“I may have to take additional measures in areas that remain uncapped under this,” he said. “That’s K to 12 education, which in some provinces, it looks more like it’s a bit more of a runaway train it should be. And the Masters and PhD programs and other exceptions,” he said.

— with files from Global News’ Rebecca Lau and The Canadian Press 

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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