A recent revelation from a top Canadian official indicates a substantial drop in study permits issued to Indian students in the aftermath of a diplomatic fallout. The decline, attributed to a dispute over the murder of a Khalistani terrorist in Canada and the expulsion of Canadian diplomats by India, led to an 86% decrease in study permits issued to Indians in the fourth quarter of last year.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller expressed uncertainty about a quick rebound, citing strained diplomatic relations. The tensions, ignited by accusations from Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, linking Indian agents to the murder, have resulted in a strained processing capacity for applications from India.
The expulsion of diplomats and the diplomatic dispute have not only impacted the processing capabilities but also led Indian students to explore educational opportunities in other countries. C. Gurus Ubramanian from the High Commission of India in Ottawa noted concerns about residential and teaching facilities in some Canadian institutions.
The decline in study permits poses challenges for Canadian universities, heavily reliant on international students who contribute around C$22 billion annually. In an effort to control the influx of international students, Miller mentioned potential measures, including a possible cap, to be introduced in the first half of the year.
Additionally, the Canadian government aims to address concerns about the postgraduate work permit program and crack down on questionable institutions. There are plans to reduce off-campus work hours, raising fears of labor shortages in industries like food service and retail.
Despite these challenges, Canada remains a preferred destination for international students due to its ease of obtaining work permits post-graduation. However, the government is committed to implementing measures to manage the growing volume of international students, projected to reach 900,000 in 2023, with 40% from India, despite the recent decline in permits.