Canada’s foreign student limit unlikely to affect M’sians


KUALA LUMPUR: Canada’s imposition of its first ever intake cap on international students is not likely to affect applications from Malaysians, says the country’s envoy here.

Canadian High Commissioner Wayne Robson (pic) said Malaysian students had proven to be a competent lot “and are very welcome in Canada”.

“Malaysian students do extremely well and we are certainly interested in them. The announcement of a cap primarily affects student intake in Ontario, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

“Malaysian students generally go to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver,” he said in an interview.

The Canadian government recently announced an intake cap of 360,000 for international student permit applications for 2024.

Robson explained that the student restriction was to balance the incredible growth in Canada’s temporary residents under the government’s efforts to address a housing shortage and stretched essential services, adding that the cap was being done province by province based on population in the province.

In January, Canada announced a two-year cap on the intake of foreign students and said it would stop giving work permits to some students after graduation as it sought to rein in record numbers of newcomers.

The aim is to reduce temporary residents to 5% of the total population over the next three years from 6.5% in 2023.

That would be a cut of about 20% from Canada’s 2.5 million temporary residents in 2023.

A meeting is to be convened with Canada’s provincial and territorial authorities next month to finalise the plan.

Robson said Canada issued about 1,000 student visas annually to Malaysians.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), there are 1,140 Malaysian students in Canada.

The envoy also revealed that a cyclical review was being conducted on the visa regime imposed by Canada for Malaysia in 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States due to “security concerns” with Malaysian passports.

The ruling affected tourists, business travellers and transit visitors. Prior to that, Malaysian citizens were able to enter Canada on a visa waiver programme as both countries are members of the Commonwealth.

In the event the visa requirement is scrapped, the envoy said Malaysians need only apply for the relatively automated ETA (Electronic Travel Authorisation) to enter Canada.

Robson said the visa issue cropped up each time leaders from both sides met, adding that it was discussed when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim met Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Summit in San Francisco last November.

He said Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz also raised the matter with Canada’s Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Minister Mary Ng during her visit here last month.

“I am also often asked about it when I meet your ministers. We celebrate the strong relationship and people-to-people ties between Canada and Malaysia, and the growing trade and investment links between our two countries,” he added.

According to statistics, he said 9,296 Malaysians visited Canada between January and November last year, with 50,809 Canadian arrivals here.

Canadians enjoy visa-free travel to Malaysia for up to 90 days.

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