2 Year Cap On International Students

Last Updated On : February 23 , 2024

International students planning to pursue their education in Canada should consider the two-year restriction set by immigration minister Marc Miller.

If you are already studying in Canada, don't worry about it, as the Cap would not affect international students living in Canada on a study permit.

Minister's Statement:

"International students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada," said Miller.

CBC News report for International students

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News has discussed the major update on the 2-year Cap on international students from Marc Miller.

Journalist David Cochrane has discussed some problems ( housing crisis, quality of education, and high fees for international students) that international students face due to some private colleges in Canada.

Rest assured that the two-year Cap will allow future students to complete their studies in Canada despite the possibility of some Canadian institutions shutting down during this period.

Mr David Cochrane has explained the three major updates from Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

  1. Two-Year Cap for International Students
  2. Post Graduate Work Permit Update
  3. Spouse Work Permit Update

2-Year Cap For International Students

The 2-year Cap on new international student permits shows Canada is no longer looking for international students in 2024, with a decrease of 35% from 2023.

There is also a cap for some Designated Learning Institutions from selected provinces, including Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia for students.

Not all provinces are putting a cap on international students.

The Canadian immigration department has shared the cap updates with Canadian provinces, so the provinces where students are having problems finding accommodations can put a cap on international student streams.

If you are an aspiring international student and wish to pursue your education in Canada, you must adhere to the latest guidelines issued by IRCC. As per these guidelines, you are required to present an Attestation Letter from the provincial government along with your study permit application. This letter serves as a verification of your eligibility to study in Canada, and failing to provide it may result in the rejection of your application.

The Cap is not for students looking to enrol in Master's and Doctoral Programs in Canada.

Post Graduate Work Permit Update

The Program allows international students who have completed a qualifying program at a designated learning institution in Canada to work there for a specified duration after graduation. This permit allows graduates to gain Canadian work experience, enhancing their chances for future permanent residency in Canada.

From September 2024, PGWP will no longer be available for the public-private institution model. If a province has a solid plan that demonstrates that students can contribute to the economic development of the country, are well-trained, and possess the necessary skills for their trade, then IRCC may make an exception for them. In such cases, students from these provinces can apply for a Post Graduate Work Permit in Canada.

There are some professional courses, including trade schools (construction, trade, transport, nursing, etc.), which are the major factors to most common problems in Canada for international students, so any of the professional courses that directly or indirectly fulfil Canadian needs will be allowed to provide study permits for international students with matching certain IRCC conditions.

Open Work Permit Update for Spouses

As a foreign national, finding employment in Canada can be challenging. However an open work permit is an excellent option for you. It gives you the freedom to work for any employer in Canada without being tied to a specific job or location like employer-specific work permits. This flexibility allows you to explore different employment opportunities and gain valuable Canadian work experience.

In the coming weeks, Open work permits will be available for spouses of international students enrolled in any Master's or Doctoral Programs or a Professional Program (Medicine & Law).

Does it mean Canada is no longer looking for International students?

Canada has to make some updates temporarily so that the new students coming to Canada may avoid living challenges like housing crises, expanded expenses, etc. By the end of the year, IRCC will analyse the results of these updates to overcome the immigration backlogs and ensure that new students coming to Canada get the education they seek.

These updates will provide a robust and appropriate system for international students in Canada. In 2025, the Canadian government will announce new targets for international students with assessed data by experts by the end of this year.

What makes Minister Marc Miller make a cap for international students?

Private colleges charge international students many times more than public colleges. The private colleges in Canada provide the required documents to international students so they can come to Canada by completing the Canadian immigration process. Still, once they start their study in private colleges, they face challenges like housing, quality of education, etc.

As per some reports, the Canadian government found that some international students in Canada are choosing an occupation that is irrelevant to their study streams. Some skilled graduates are choosing to become cab drivers and other ground-level operations.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller has shown their interest in welcoming skilled immigrants and international students in Canada but also assuring that an employee matching with a higher TEER category (TEER 0 or 1) may not apply for low-wage occupations (TEER 4 or 5).

There are dedicated pathways for Canadian immigration, as the Immigration minister has updated the express entry system with category-based immigration draws.

Get Your ITA with Express Entry for Transport Workers!

You can apply for Express Entry to Canada if you work in the transportation industry. To be eligible, you must maintain a certain Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score in the Express Entry pool. There are also specific Express Entry draws for workers in different occupations, such as trade, healthcare, and agriculture. If you meet the eligibility criteria and are selected in the draw, you will receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from the Canadian government.

Cap Exemption for Canada's Skilled Workforce Growth

If you are planning to apply for a Master's or PhD program at any of the Canadian Designated Learning Institutions, the Cap will not have any impact on your study visa application. The Canadian government is keen on increasing the number of highly skilled workers, such as doctors and engineers, who can contribute to the country's economy and growth.

IRCC, Provinces and the National Association of Career Colleges Canada are always looking to feed the labour force in Canada and the Canadian economy.


In conclusion, the recent updates on the 2-year cap for international students in Canada signify a shift towards welcoming international students. This was highlighted by Minister Marc Miller and discussed in a CBC News report.

Existing students aren't affected by the current cap. The updates include changes to the Post Graduate Work Permit and the introduction of Open Work Permits for spouses. These are temporary measures to improve the experience for new students. New targets will be announced in 2025 based on analyzed data.