The Sharp Decline: Canadian Study Permits to Indian Students Plunge by 86% in Last Quarter

Canada has always been a popular country for international students from India however in a surprising turn of events there has been a startling 86% drop in the number of Canadian study permits granted to Indian students during the past quarter (October – December 2023).

With over 41%, or 225,835, of all permits given to Indians in 2022, Indians become the largest group of international students in Canada in recent years. On the contrary the results were not as promising in the last quarter of 2023 with a dip from 108,940 to 14,910.


The main reason for the decline in the statistics is the tension between India and Canada. The tensions are likely to weigh on the numbers going forward, Miller stated.
“Our relationship with India has really halved our ability to process a lot of applications from India,” – Marc Miller.

Canada declared in June that “credible” claims had been made connecting the killing of Nijjar in a suburb of Vancouver to Indian operatives. That accusation has been denied by India. No one has been charged with the death by Canadian authorities yet. Another reason is that, On orders from New Delhi, Canada was compelled to remove 41 diplomats, or two-thirds of its workforce, from India in October. Furthermore, an official representing the government stated that the disagreement has led Indian students to look at studying abroad. India, on the other hand, said that the move was made in accordance with the Vienna Convention to guarantee Canada’s diplomatic presence was balanced.

Other than the economic disputes between the countries, another reason that contributes to the decline of Indian students applying for Canadian higher education is that due to the ongoing housing shortage in the country, the Canadian government has been seeking to reduce the overall number of international students. Miller stated that additional steps, maybe including a cap, would be implemented by the government to reduce the number of foreign students during the first half of this year. IRCC also announced the cost-of-living cap for international students in Canada was increased by the government from $10,000 to $20,635. Applicants for new study permits in Canada must show proof of income of CA$20,635 that covers their first year’s tuition and travel expenses. This is another factor that is demotivating the students to proceed with their plans to study in Canada. Study permits granted fell by 86% as a result of these causes.


For Canadian universities, international students are a cash cow, bringing in roughly C$22 billion ($16.4 billion) a year. A slowdown would be devastating to these establishments. Moreover in an interview Immigration Minister Marc Miller expressed concerns over the quick recovery in the number of Indian students granted study visas. C Guru Subramanian, counsellor at the Indian high commission of India in Ottawa, said some Indian international students were looking at other options besides Canada.
In an interview Immigration Minister Marc Miller added that he believes the number of study permits to Indians is unlikely to rebound soon.

Policymakers, academic institutions, and students should all pay attention to the alarming trend of the 86% decline in Canadian study permits for Indian students. In order to continue to be the top choice for international students, especially those from India, Canada will need to recognize the causes of this drop and work together to find solutions.

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