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Canada Plans To Cap International Students Amid Housing Crisis

Canada is facing its worst housing crisis ever, and the Government's solution to tackle the problem is probably going to be capping International Student Visas. The problem occurs as the demand for houses is not even remotely meeting the availability, leading to skyrocketing rentals and extortionate prices for newly built houses.   


A sudden boost in population, primarily due to the high level of immigration is being blamed for the shortage of housing in Canada, which is driving up the demand, though the rate of production remains low, eventually making homeownership and renting unaffordable, especially in metropolitan cities like Toronto and Vancouver. It is estimated that Canada will need 3.5 million additional housing units by 2030 in comparison to the current national housing plan.  


Former Canadian Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser (now Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities) in a Press Conference, talking about the plans of the Federal Government to counter the housing crisis said, putting a cap on international students coming to Canada each year is “one of the options that we ought to consider”.


Though capping student visas seems an easy and quick solution to the problem, the question that arises is how effective it is and are international students the only reason driving the housing crisis.  


Maëlis Barre, chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students and International Students, in an interview with CTV news, said that the possible cap on international students would work as a “band-aid solution” that cannot solve the complex and multifaceted issue of housing affordability.   


 Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, while speaking to news reporters during his recent visit to Charlottetown, said, “We have to be very careful. Over the past years, we’ve seen a lot of different people and a lot of different groups blamed for the housing crisis. At one point it was foreign homebuyers. At another point it was developers being super aggressive. Another point was under-investments by various orders of government. Now it’s people saying, "Oh, it’s international students.” 

“But it’s (housing crisis) something that has been brewing and developing over the past number of decades.”  


International students make up a major section of the student population in Canada and the revenue brought by them (in the form of tuition, taxes, and skilled labor) has become an important source of revenue for the government as well as universities and colleges. International students pay as much as 5 times higher fees as compared to domestic students (Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents) and many universities and colleges in Canada heavily rely on international student fees for a variety of reasons in the face of lack of funding by the federal government.  


Experts believe that blaming international students for the housing crisis is unfair as most international students live in shared basements and condos and on average, do not become homeowners/purchase houses in Canada until they become Permanent Residents of the country.   


With the 2025 federal elections approaching soon and the increasing pressure being exerted by the opposition to tackle the housing problem, all eyes are now on the Liberal government led by PM Justin Trudeau and the policy changes that they will potentially make to solve the crisis.   


It is worth noting that if the government announces any changes to the current visa structure/system it will impact hundreds and thousands of prospective international students across the world who wish to build a brighter future for themselves in Canada.   






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