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Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn speaks before a committee of the legislature on April 26, 2023. Image: Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick video capture

N.B. government unhappy with student visa cap

By Brad Perry Jan 23, 2024 | 12:15 PM

New Brunswick’s post-secondary education minister is not happy with a cap on international student permits.

About 364,000 international student permits are expected to be approved across Canada this year, down around 35 per cent compared to last year.

Federal officials said Monday that the move is meant to improve program integrity, set international students up for success, and maintain a sustainable level of temporary residents in Canada.

Arlene Dunn, New Brunswick’s post-secondary education minister, said while officials are still working to understand the impact on our province, the changes are “very concerning.”

“The problems the federal government are trying to address with these changes are not our issues and New Brunswick is paying the price for the problems that exist in other parts of the country,” Dunn wrote in a statement.

Dunn said the province is working with colleges and universities to ensure all students can find accommodations.

She noted that post-secondary institutions in the province are adjusting their intake in consideration of supply and demand.

“International students are critical to growing New Brunswick’s population and economy, and increasing the enrollment of our post-secondary institutions,” said the minister.

“New Brunswick has benefited from an increase in the number of international students in recent years, which has significantly contributed to reversing a trend of a shrinking student population.”

Dunn said she is worried the change will wipe out recent enrollment growth at colleges and universities, shrink the labour market, and reduce the number of provincial immigration nominations.