The diplomatic tug of war betwwen the Modi-led Indian government and the Canadian government has hit the growing flow Indian students aspiring to come to this North Americann nation seeking higher education.
The number of Indian students choosing Canada as a destination for further studies has seen a downtick, as per data for the period of July to October 2023. As per data reported by Better Dwelling, new study permits from India dropped from a total of 145,881 last year between July-October to 86,562 in the same period of 2023, representing a 40 per cent decline.
The report said that overall applications have declined by 9 per cent compared to 2022, despite being observed annually that the period between July to August shows growth ahead of September when terms commence.
The drop in applications can be attributed to the ongoing diplomatic row that India and Canada are tied up in, Following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations in mid-September about India’s involvement in the death of Canadian national Khalistani Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
The decline was reported months after the federal government announced plans to consider a cap on international students in the face of Canada’s housing crisis. In August, Federal Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Sean Fraser told reporters that he planned to sit down with post-secondary institutions to find out what can be done to make it easier to find living space for students.
“If they’re going to continue to bring in record numbers of students, that they are being part of the solution as well by making sure that they have a place to live,” Fraser had said. He called out institutions for exploiting students by enrolling more than they had space for, which in turn also hurt the housing market.
“There are good private institutions out there and separating the wheat from the chaff is going to be a big focus of the work that I tried to do with [Immigration Minister Marc] Miller.”
Earlier this year, a record number of Indian students faced the threat of deportation from Canada after being accused of entering the country on the base of fraudulent letters. These letters were used to obtain their entry visa into the country.
While the fraud was attributed to the agents in India who processed their applications, students also questioned Canada’s federal government for granting the visas in the first place. The government ordered a temporary freeze on the deportation of these students after mass protests.