Canada eyes limit on international students as housing crisis intensifies

Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on Saturday that he will be considering the prospect of capping the number of foreign students residing in Canada in the coming months, in light of the country’s mounting housing problem and unemployment. This was reported by CTV News on Saturday.

The minister did not state how much of a reduction in immigration the government intends to implement.

In an interview to CTV’s Question Period host Vassy Kapelos, the minister said, “This is a conversation the federal government will need to have with provincial governments “to make sure that the provinces that have not been doing their jobs actually rein in those numbers on a pure volume basis.”

“That volume is disconcerting,” Miller said, with reference to the number of international students in Canada.

“It’s really a system that has gotten out of control,” he added.

In order to help lower the demand for accommodation in both the first and second quarters of this year, Miller stated he will be considering the prospect of imposing a cap on international students.

When asked why his government is only now considering a cap, given that the idea was first proposed months ago, Miller responded that federal data needs to be sorted out before looking “a little more granularly” at what specific academic institutions are doing in various provinces, potentially making money by attracting more foreign students, CTV News reported.

“We need to be doing our jobs and making sure that we have a system that actually makes sure people have a financial capability to come to Canada, that we’re actually verifying offer letters,” Miller said, adding, “And now it’s time for us to have a conversation about volumes and the impact that is having in certain areas.”

Miller pointed out that imposing a quota on foreign students would not be a “one-size-fits-all solution” to Canada’s housing crisis.

Miller added that housing is only one factor in immigration targets, noting that the number of foreign students entering Canada is significantly more than the number of homes the federal government plans to assist in building. He remarked that it is imperative to take into account the urgent need to lower the average age of the workforce.

Miller stated that while details are being considered, the federal government “will continue to consider” imposing a cap on international students.

(With agency inputs)

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