Canada’s policy shift and its impacts on student recruitment

Canada’s policy shift and its impacts on student recruitment

In a recent survey, positive findings emerge as over 40% of universities anticipate stable or slightly improved international enrolment targets for the upcoming year. These are remarkable ratings amidst the concerns about the government’s latest policy changes announced in January, which capped study permits for 2024 at 360,000 and introduced changes to post-graduation work permits, concerning 90% of Canadian institutions and 80% of prospective international students. 

Institutional concerns and student perspectives 

According to a recent survey of over 70 Canadian institutions, 57% of the universities were “somewhat concerned” and 30% were “extremely concerned” about the policy changes. A separate survey of over 5,500 prospective students found that 98.6% consider post-graduate work permits crucial when deciding to study in Canada. Approximately 51.1% of these students expressed a likelihood of changing their preferred study destination if the post-graduation work permit duration was reduced. On a positive note, only 13.4% had changed their minds about their preferred study destination in the last year, citing reasons such as high course costs in other countries, better opportunities, concerns about policy changes and visa processing times. 

Positive findings and future outlook 

Despite the apprehensions, the research indicates that over 4 in 10 universities expect their international enrolment targets to remain the same or be slightly better compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, only 4% foresee a significant improvement in comparison with 2023. The majority of prospective international students (79.5%) express concerns about the policy changes, but only a fraction (13.4%) has altered their preferred study destination in the last 12 months. 

Strategic alignment and international recruitment practices 

The recent policy changes have created unprecedented challenges in the Canadian international education sector. While the potential impacts on international student recruitment are acknowledged, it’s crucial to understand that these measures are part of a broader strategy to enhance the educational landscape for international students. The Canadian government aims to create a sustainable environment, ensuring that the challenges posed by increased demand are met with solutions that benefit students. The industry faces certain obstacles, potentially affecting institution budgets, program cuts and Canada’s reputation. However, these challenges can be addressed with strategic planning that aligns industry needs and program offerings. This alignment not only addresses concerns but also creates opportunities for international students.  


Technological advancements, when utilised effectively, can bridge the gap between institutions and students. By fostering technological advancement for education, these developments pave the way for growing collaborations and learning experiences. In this digital landscape, upGrad GSP uses a unique online platform that allows international students to search, compare and apply for thousands of courses globally. Additionally, government initiatives also play a crucial role in fostering a positive environment for international students.

Communication and recruitment approaches  

The government’s commitment to transparency and accurate information ensures that international students can make informed decisions about their education in Canada, contributing to an environment where their needs and concerns are prioritised. 

It is crucial to recognise the positive changes aimed at enhancing the overall experience for international students. With the recent policy shifts, the government guarantees these efforts to address challenges and provide benefits for those pursuing education in Canada. 

To know more about the opportunities available for international students and updates about education in Canada, please reach out to our North American team at   

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