The province of British Columbia in Canada has announced a two-year ban on tertiary institutions from admitting international students.

British columbia
British Columbia

This measure, led by Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller, is aimed at reducing new student visa issuance by 35% for the current year. The goal is to address what is described as “exploitative practices” within the international education system.

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Premier David Eby emphasized the importance of tackling issues within the international education system, acknowledging its crucial role in the province’s social and economic framework. The move is a response to concerns about exploitative international recruitment, a lack of diversity in some institutions, and other challenges within the system.

The British Columbia Federation of Students, representing over 170,000 individuals enrolled at universities, colleges, and institutes, welcomed the changes as a positive first step. The federation stressed the need to address exploitative international recruitment practices and urged a provincial review to examine the over-reliance on tuition from foreign students by public post-secondary institutions.

The province outlined new standards for institutions, including higher assessment criteria for degree quality, demonstrated labor-market need for graduates, appropriate resources, and student support. The freeze on new institutions will extend until February 2026. Minister for Post-Secondary Education Selina Robinson highlighted the need for the freeze to address deficiencies within an underperforming international education framework.

Robinson mentioned ongoing efforts to establish minimum language proficiency standards at private institutions to ensure international students are adequately prepared before arriving in British Columbia. The province will increase inspections of schools to ensure compliance with standards and address concerns about the exploitation of students.

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