New analysis highlights drop in Canadian study permits

 In News

According to the ApplyBoard analysis of Q1 2024 data, March was the first month in 2024 that saw the total number of new study permits decrease year-on-year, with only 33,000 of them being processed compared to 70,000 in March 2023 – a drop of over 52%.

Post the announcement of the cap in January 2024, the IRCC allocated a portion of the restriction to each Canadian province and territory, which could further distribute the allocation among their respective learning institutions.

With the study permit processing paused for select programs nationwide, and provinces having to launch their provincial attestation letter process by March 31, 2024, the IRCC data reflects the effects of the updated policies, according to ApplyBoard.

The data also suggested a considerable dip in the number of approved study permits between January and April 2024.

Between January and April 2024, IRCC processed over 152,000 post-secondary study permits, of which over 76,000 were approved. This is an overall approval rate of 50%, eight percentage points lower than the 2023 average and five percentage points lower than 2022’s average of 55%, as per the ApplyBoard analysis.

The difference in the number of approved study permits this year compared to previous years can also be attributed to undergraduate and some postgraduate programs being fully paused for at least one month and longer study permit processing times which led to fewer applications being processed this year.

The average Canadian study permit processing time has increased significantly in 2024, from eight weeks in January to around 15 weeks in May.

ApplyBoard has attributed the rising processing times to PAL processes launched throughout March, which could have led to processing times rising upward as students who held off on submitting their study permit applications sent them in.

Apply Board predicted that the increase in processing time may be on the wane – 12 weeks in mid-June, versus 14 or 15 weeks in May.

It is expected that if the application numbers and approval rates remain steady throughout 2024, the number of approved post-secondary study permits could go up to 229,000.

But with a rise in student interest levels and approval rates in the coming months, 2024’s final study permit approval numbers will align more closely with the government’s cap of 292,000, ApplyBoard predicted.

The new data has also spelled bad news for the Indian market, which saw over 220,000 students go to Canada for higher education in 2022.

Though almost 45,000 study permit applications for Indian students were processed by IRCC in January and February 2024, this number fell to a record low of 4,210 in March 2024.

News around the cap and application freezing in January likely had a disproportionate impact on Indian study permit applications, compared to others.

Apply Board

“In 2023, over 90% of study permits processed for Indian applicants were for now-capped study programs, such as college diplomas and university undergraduate degrees. This was the third-highest rate among the top 10 source countries. As a result, news around the cap and application freezing in January likely had a disproportionate impact on Indian study permit applications, compared to others,” the report suggested.

The one comforting prospect for Indian students is the higher approval rate for Canadian study permit applications with the 2024 Q1 study permit approval rate rising to 85% from 73% in 2023.

Though the number of Indian students has declined, other student markets are witnessing major growth. In Q1 2024, students from Bangladesh, Ghana, Guinea, and Senegal saw higher approval volumes year-on-year.

Ghanaian students, in particular, received the second-highest number of approved permits, surpassing other popular student cohorts from Nigeria and China.

While Ghana saw an approval of 3,267 study permit applications, 2,699 applications from Nigerian students were given the go-ahead between January and April 2024.

Although Ghanaian and Nigerian students are Canada’s second and third largest sources of students so far this year, their approval rates dipped in 2024. Ghanaian students saw an approval rate of 32% in 2024, down from 44% in 2023.

Over the same period, the approval rate for Nigerian applicants dropped sharply from 32% to 16%.

The post New analysis highlights drop in Canadian study permits appeared first on The PIE News.

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