Ravi Jain recently wrote a piece for the Canadian Immigration Lawyers Association (CILA) blog where he discusses the current debate in Canada regarding the influx of international students and its impact on various aspects of Canadian society. The newly appointed Housing Minister, Sean Fraser, suggests that limiting the number of international students may be a solution to the housing crisis in the country. However, this proposal faces opposition from provinces, arguing that education falls under their jurisdiction.
Mr. Jain emphasizes that the admission of international students is a federal matter, with the federal government overseeing Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) and the rules related to student visas and work permits. It is also responsible for the annual levels plan for permanent residents, as many international students seek to transition to permanent residency.
He also points out that advocating for limits on immigration programs is not contradictory to the profession’s principles; instead, it reflects a concern for clients’ well-being and the impact of policy on their lives. They highlight their previous call to reduce international student numbers due to concerns about housing shortages and rising rents.
Critics of limiting international students argue that it could hinder Canada’s use of international education as a form of soft power for foreign policy objectives. The author rebuts this, asserting that the goal is not to end international student programs but to reduce their numbers, which have increased significantly in recent years.
Financial implications for educational institutions are another point of contention, but the author suggests that provincial governments should increase funding for schools and institutions should find ways to reduce their reliance on international student fees, which are often much higher than domestic tuition fees.
The article proposes several measures to limit international student numbers, including removing institutions from the DLI list if they don’t offer post-graduate work permits, banning student visas for private colleges, and increasing transparency in commissions for agents and DLIs. It also highlights concerns about the growing number of immigration consultants, some of whom may have conflicts of interest.
Ultimately, Mr. Jain argues that protecting international students from exploitation, misinformation, and poor advice is a moral imperative. He cites cases of students facing suicide and financial ruin due to such issues and call for stronger regulation and supervision of immigration consultants to ensure the well-being of international students and safeguard Canada’s reputation.