British Columbia freezes international student applications for 2 years


Following the recent temporary cap on study permits in Canada in 2024, the province of British Columbia took the unprecedented step of imposing a two-year ban on new colleges, prohibiting them from international student registration. The province justified the decision by citing “exploitative practices” that undermine the credibility of the post-secondary education system.

Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, explained in a press conference that the ban was mandatory due to gaps and shortcomings in the international education system. Additionally, she said the system was not working as well as it should be. The strict measures taken by the Council are expected to yield positive results as private colleges and universities in British Columbia will now have to demonstrate that their new programs are in line with the demands of the labor market. In addition, private post-secondary educational institutions will need to be regularly monitored to ensure that established standards are met.

The verdict was announced following the federal government’s earlier crackdown on international students, which included a temporary cap on study permits in 2024. The new cap allows for 360,000 approved study permits, which reflects a 35% decrease from the previous year. The measures taken are seen as a turning point in ongoing efforts to regulate the international education landscape, as in British Columbia alone it caters to the bulk of students, with approximately 82,000 students in public establishments and 94,000 in private establishments.

International Students in British Columbia

Approximately 54% of the 175,000 international postsecondary students, from more than 150 countries, are enrolled in private universities. Eighty percent of the province’s 280 private schools are located in the Lower Mainland.
Ms. Selina Robinson noted that the two-year shutdown is intended to give the province an opportunity to evaluate and introspect the impacts of recent changes. British Columbia Premier David Eby has highlighted the need for the province to address issues related to the international education system.

“There is a wide range of private establishments, large and small, in our province, but regardless of the size of the establishment, our expectations for the level of quality are the same,” he told Ottawa. “There are institutions that are not meeting our expectations at the moment.” –David Eby

Aiming for quality postsecondary education

The ban aims to inspect an allegedly corrupt business model that has gone unchecked for years. The registration ban is part of a growing review aimed at improving the post-secondary education system in British Columbia, highlighting the importance of protecting students from the predatory practices of many unscrupulous educational institutions.

There is also a project to establish minimum language eligibility in private training institutes, thereby providing students with a fair chance to compete to meet the demands of the job market. The government claimed these initiatives would improve education standards.

A measure to alleviate the housing crisis

The housing crisis, which is in some way linked to the influx of international students, constitutes a formidable challenge facing the entire country, according to the study by the Justin Trudeau government. Banning international students in British Columbia is one step in Justin Trudeau’s goal to reduce the influx of international students that is causing this problem.

Last week, a cap on new international student permits was imposed in response to the same sentiment, to reduce student enrollment by 35% this year, to around 360,000. The government also intends to restrict post-graduation work permits to certain students. This demonstrates how regulations have tightened in response to concerns about housing and market saturation.

Economic impact of the student visa in Canada

The Canadian economy receives an estimated annual contribution of 22 billion Canadian dollars ($16.4 billion) from international students. Many educational institutions that have expanded their campuses in hopes of continuing to attract students could suffer from this change. Official 2022 data shows that more than 40% of international students studying in Canada come from India, closely followed by China at around 12%.

British Columbia must now decide how to cap the number of applicants to private and public post-secondary institutions. Experts predict that the cap and then the two-year ban will not have much effect on large universities, but will certainly have a negative impact on smaller universities and colleges. For obvious reasons, colleges and institutes are concerned about these changes. They claim that most companies recruit students from institutes, even small universities. Many international students are already giving up on gaining admission to BC colleges and universities, wondering whether or not the new rules will finally be implemented.

Leave a comment