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Following the recent temporary cap on study permits in Canada in 2024, the province of British Columbia took an unprecedented step by imposing a two-year ban on new colleges prohibiting them from enrolling international students. The province justified the move pointing to ‘exploitive practices’ that have been undermining the credibility of the post-secondary education system.

Selina Robinson, Post-Secondary Education Minister, explained in a press conference that the ban was mandatory owing to the deficiencies and paucities in the international education system. Furthermore, she stated that the system has not been working as well as it should be. The stringent measures taken by the Council are expected to yield positive results as private colleges and universities in British Columbia will now be required to demonstrate that their new programs are in sync with the demands of the labour market. Additionally, private post-secondary education institutes will have to undergo scrutiny on a regular basis to ensure that established standards are met and adhered to.

The verdict was announced in the wake of the federal government’s earlier crackdown on international students, which included a temporary cap on study permits in 2024. The new cap permits 360,000 approved study permits, reflecting a 35% dip in comparison to the previous year. The measures taken are being perceived as a turning point in the ongoing efforts to regulate the international education landscape as in British Columbia alone, caters to the major chunk of students with approximately 82,000 students in public institutions and 94,000 in private institutions.

International Students in B.C.

Approximately 54% of British Columbia’s 175,000 international post-secondary students, who come from over 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 emphasized that the two-year halt aims to give province an opportunity to assess and introspect the impacts of recent changes. Premier David Eby of British Columbia emphasised on the necessity for the province to address the issues within the international education system.

“There are a wide array of private institutions, big and small in our province, but regardless of the size of the institution, our expectations of the level of quality are the same,” he said in Ottawa. “There are institutions that are not meeting our expectations right now.” – David Eby

Aiming for Quality Post-Secondary Education

The ban is intended to inspect allegedly a corrupt business model that has been unchecked for years. The ban on enrolment is a part of scrutiny to improve the post-secondary education system in B.C., stressing the significance of protecting students from predatory practices by many unscrupulous educational institutes.

Moreover, there is a plan to establish minimum language eligibility at private training institutes, providing a fair chance for students to compete to meet labour market requirements. The government has claimed that these initiatives will increase the standards of education.

A Move to Mitigate Housing Crisis

The housing crisis, which has been somewhat linked to the surge of international students, is a formidable challenge facing the entire country of Canada, according to the Justin Trudeau government’s study. The ban on foreign students in British Columbia is a step in Justin Trudeau’s goal to reduce the influx of foreign students that is causing this problem.

In the last week, a cap on new international student permits has been imposed in response to the same sentiment, to lower the enrolment of students by 35% this year, to roughly 360,000. The government also intends to restrict post-graduation work licences to specific students. This demonstrates how regulations have tightened in response to worries about housing and market saturation.

Economic Impact of Student Visa in Canada

The Canadian economy receives an estimated yearly contribution of C$22 billion ($16.4 billion) from international students. Many educational institutions that have expanded their campuses in the expectation of continuing to attract students may suffer as a result of the shift. Official data from 2022 shows that over 40% of international students studying in Canada are from India, with China following closely behind with roughly 12%.

B.C. now has to decide how to cap applicants for both private and public post-secondary education institutions. Experts predict that cap and subsequently two year ban will not have much affect on bigger universities but certainly adversely affect smaller universities and colleges. For obvious reasons colleges and institutes are worried about these changes. They claim most companies recruit students from the institutes, even from smaller universities. Many international students are already backing out of getting admission to colleges and universities in B.C. as they grapple with whether the new rules are finally being implemented or not.

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