Canada is on track to bring in 900,000 international students this year, immigration minister Marc Miller said in the interview. With this, the number of international students will be more than at any point in history roughly triple the number who entered the country a decade ago. Canada is concerned about the overall integrity of the system that educates hundreds of thousands of international students and not just the added pressure they put on housing, Marc Miller said.
The university ecosystem that brings in foreign students “is very lucrative and it’s come with some perverse effects, some fraud in the system. Some people taking advantage of what is seen to be a backdoor entry into Canada,” he said.
Private and public universities generate C$20-C$30 billion per year in revenue on those who come to study from abroad, he said, adding, “Some people are making a lot of money out of it legitimately, some people are gaming the system, and my principal concern is with that integrity of the system.”
The minister said that his concern was not the public universities, but “principally the private colleges that have just ballooned in different parts of Canada”.
The minister earlier said that the government is mulling whether to cap the number of students allowed in each year as a way of easing the housing crunch.
“Just putting a hard cap, which got a lot of public play over the last few days, is not the only solution to this,” he said.