Minister opposes language student exemption for Canada caps

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Posted on March 6, 2024


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Canada’s study visa limitations will not apply to foreign language students, although immigration minister Marc Miller said last week at the Languages Canada 2024 conference that it is not out of the government’s consideration to “consider controlling the secondary school space.”

Despite the fact that stakeholders have pointed out that language students reside with Canadian families and are not employed in Canada, Miller turned down the organization’s petition to remove them from the cap.

“Controlling loudness is a difficulty that has to be addressed. I wouldn’t be against thinking about taking charge of the secondary area as well. The minister stated, “Maybe that is the next stage.

Miller had previously criticized the notion of limiting the number of students, calling it “doing surgery with a hammer.”

More over a million foreign students had valid study licenses in Canada in 2023—a 29% rise from the year before.

The language industry claimed that they are not a part of the issue, despite the fact that the majority of Canadian leaders in international education agreed that action needed to be taken to stop the “unsustainable” increase in the number of foreign students.

The language education sector is the only one that has not seen excessive expansion since 2019. Gonzalo Peralta, executive director of Languages Canada, stated, “We are still only at 80% of 2019 numbers, and even before that, this intake was seeing really measured growth.” 

Peralta claims that once the cap was revealed on January 22, “all hell broke loose.”

Politicians justified the cap by pointing to the nation’s housing crisis as one of the reasons secondary school students were excluded. The argument that the same logic applies to their students is made by language schools.

According to Chris Mediratta, treasurer of Languages Canada, “the majority of international language school students live with Canadian families, and over $200 million goes to these households to support their mortgages, including seniors that really rely on the students being in their homes.”

Miller countered that “the impact on housing and the carry-on benefits on the rest of the economy was not at the heart of the consideration” and that the announcement had nothing to do with housing.

Politicians in Canada have heavily criticized the provinces for failing to investigate “bad actors” in private institutions that are to blame for the sharp rise in the number of overseas students.

However, new information from CBC News showed that a small number of Ontario public institutions was disproportionately responsible for the expansion.

Because it eventually decides how many visas are processed, the federal government is in charge of volume. As a result, they’re now only polishing their message and tidying up their own mess, according to Antonio Aragón, vice president of business development at Bayswater Education.

“We’ve made the decision to stop asking why, as there are clearly many reasons for it. I believe it’s time to move on to what,” Aragón continued.

Most foreign language learners arrive in Canada with six-month temporary resident and eTA tourist visas. The caps have no effect on these kids.

In a statement, Languages Canada urged students to stick with these options and apply for work visas via International Experience Canada, which will process applications more quickly.

Members of the organization are also dedicated to restoring the industry’s reputation, which they believe has been negatively impacted by divisive language propagated by the media and politicians. A prevalent apprehension among the members of Languages Canada was that the Canadian government, lacking an education minister, is inadequately cognizant of the distinct attributes of language schools.

Miller’s claim that 45% of “your” candidates are from India validated these worries, but Peralta points out that this isn’t the case for language schools where the number of Indian students is quite low.

Thus, committing to become “that squeaky wheel” in government, Aragón and other members promised to speak out more loudly with ministers and the general public on the need of language learning for integration and the unique requirements of language schools in Canada.