Canada, for the second time in several months, has taken steps to limit the number of foreign students it accepts and is seeking help from the provinces to control the operation of “puppy mills”, a Canadian term for educational institutions that offer inferior educations to alien students (which we have often called “visa mills”).
As we noted last month, Canada doubled the amount of money that a foreign student has to have to secure their equivalent of our F-1 visa, from the earlier CAD$10,000 (equal to about US$7,400) to CAD$20,635 (US$15,267).
Then, this week, Immigration Minister Marc Miller — they have a full cabinet office just for immigration — announced a further step: a reduction by 35 percent in the number of student visas issued nationwide and a series of province-by-province ceilings. We have no ceilings for the admission of alien students.
Canada has been taking on more students, proportionate to its population, than the U.S. has, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reporting that the number of new visas handed out “will be capped at 364,000. Nearly 560,000 such visas were issued last year.”
In contrast, the U.S., with about nine times the population of Canada, issued 411,131 foreign student visas in FY 2022. There may be some issues of definition here, but it looks like Canada, though much less populous than the U.S., was taking on 100,000 more new alien students a year than we do, with these numbers running up the cost of housing, among other things.
It’s no wonder that the cabinet decided on the national cap and provincial caps.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story previously cited went on to report that both British Columbia and Ontario would be taking steps against the “puppy mills” or diploma mills that provide foreign students with inferior educations.
For example, the B.C. Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Minister Selina Robinson said that her province has “more than 250 private post-secondary institutions and that she “has been ‘appalled’ by some of their actions, including recruiting students with false promises of in-class instruction and guaranteed housing. ‘The student does all the right things and they arrive and there is no housing, there are no supports, and in fact I’ve heard of cases where there is no classroom,’ Robinson said.”
To suggest that foreign students are all innocent victims is a political flourish on the part of Minister Robinson; in comparable U.S. situations many “students” were well aware of the situation, which they in fact tolerated because it opened a way for jobs here. That is probably true in Canada as well.