Claim Your Spot as an International Student in Canada

April 16, 2024


  • Shireen Fisher

Canada is consistently ranked among the top study destinations globally. The country offers an exceptional education system, diverse programs, and an enriching multicultural environment. For aspiring international students, this makes it the ideal launchpad for academic and personal growth. And with nearly 500,000 spots available for 2024, there has never been a better time to get your Canadian student journey into take-off mode.

We look at the latest provincial and territorial Canadian study permit allocations and how you can get ready to claim your spot as an international student in Canada.

The Latest International Student Allocations For Canada

Canada's Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced on April 5, 2024, that provincial and territorial allocations for study permit applications has been finalized. He explained that a national cap has been implemented to address the rapid increase of international students.

The cap is based on a "net zero first year growth model," aiming for the same number of incoming students in 2024 as those whose permits expire. Minister Miller detailed the calculations, including a target of 485,000 approved permits, subtracting those likely to extend their stay (97,000), and adding a buffer, resulting in a revised target of 364,000.

Considering a 60% approval rate, this translates to a cap of 606,000 applications received in 2024. There are exemptions for certain students, such as those in primary, secondary, master's, or doctoral programs (estimated at 140,000). Factoring this in, the final target becomes 236,000 approved permits. This translates to approximately 393,000 applications allocated to provinces and territories.

Provincial and Territorial Allocations

Immigration Minister Marc Miller also stated that IRCC distributed the adjusted number of applications (around 393,000) based on provincial and territorial population share. This allocation model would result in some regions receiving more students in 2024 compared to 2023, while others would see a decrease.

Miller explained further adjustments made to the allocations. Canadian provinces expecting an increase exceeding 10% compared to 2023 had their allocations capped at 10% growth. Canadian provinces anticipating a decrease received adjustments to minimize the negative impact and support regional immigration goals.

IRCC also provided "top-ups" to provinces with approval rates below the national average (60%). These top-ups aimed to help them reach their expected number of approved permits in 2024.

As a consequence of these adjustments, approximately 552,000 applications were allocated across provinces and territories. This is expected to result in roughly 292,000 approved permits, representing a 28% reduction from 2023 for students under the cap.

Miller acknowledged that various factors could influence the final number of new international students arriving in 2024. These include provinces not using their full allocation, potential changes in approval rates, and the need for adjustments throughout the year. He emphasized that these results would inform allocation decisions for 2025.

Why Canada is a Dream Study-abroad Destination

Academic Excellence

Canadian universities consistently rank among the best in the world according to reputable organizations like QS World University Rankings. This translates to a high-quality education with access to renowned professors and leading research opportunities.

You will be taught by professors who are experts in their fields and passionate about sharing their knowledge. They are dedicated to guiding you towards your academic goals and fostering a stimulating learning environment.

Canadian universities are known for their innovative research programs. You will have the chance to get involved in groundbreaking projects and contribute to advancements in various disciplines.

Program Diversity

Canadian universities offer various undergraduate and graduate programs catering to diverse interests and career aspirations. Whether you are passionate about traditional disciplines like science and engineering or cutting-edge fields like artificial intelligence and environmental sustainability, you will find a program that aligns perfectly with your academic goals.

The diverse program offerings allow you to explore different areas of study before specializing. This is particularly helpful if you are undecided on a specific career path.

Access to the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The PGWP program allows you to gain valuable Canadian work experience after completing your studies. This experience can significantly boost your resume and give you a competitive edge in the global job market.

The work experience you gain through the PGWP program can help you qualify for Canadian permanent residency in Canada. This allows you to build a successful career and life in Canada after graduation.

A Multicultural Haven

Canada is a vibrant and multicultural society with people from around the world. As an international student, you will have the opportunity to experience this diversity firsthand.

When you study in Canada, you will connect with classmates and friends from different backgrounds, learn about their cultures, and broaden your worldview. This exposure to diverse perspectives will prepare you to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.

Canada is known for its tolerance and acceptance, making it a welcoming place for international students. You will feel supported and encouraged to embrace your unique cultural identity.

Safe and Secure Environment

Canada consistently ranks high regarding safety and quality of life. This means you can focus on your studies in a comfortable and secure environment.

Canada's low crime rate, excellent healthcare system, and stable political climate will give you peace of mind while studying abroad.

Earn While You Learn

International students in Canada can work off-campus for up to 20 hours per week during school semesters and full-time during scheduled breaks (e.g., summer holidays). This allows you to gain valuable Canadian work experience, contribute to your living expenses, and explore career opportunities. Learn more about popular part-time jobs for students in Canada.

Steps to Claim Your Spot as an International Student in Canada

With Canada's many benefits, securing your spot as an international student is the natural next step. Here is a breakdown of the key steps to guide you through the application process.

Step 1: Research and Choose Your Program & University

To study in Canada, you must enroll at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Explore the websites of Canadian universities and colleges to discover the programs that align with your academic interests. Use online resources like the Canadian government's Study in Canada website to access valuable information on various programs and institutions.

Consider factors like program rankings, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and campus life when making your decision.

Step 2: Meet Eligibility Requirements

Ensure you meet the specific academic requirements for your chosen program. These may include:

Step 3: Apply to Your Chosen Universities

Carefully review university application deadlines and submit your complete application package well in advance. Each university may have a specific application process and portal. Follow their instructions diligently. Prepare yourself for potential interview invitations from universities. Discover the top universities in Canada.

Step 4: Obtain a Canadian Study Permit

Upon receiving a university acceptance letter, you must apply for a study permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The IRCC website provides detailed information on the study permit application process and required documentation.

Step 5: Prepare for Arrival in Canada

Secure safe and suitable accommodation near your university campus. Research your financial needs and explore scholarship opportunities through universities and relevant organizations.

Also, familiarize yourself with Canada's healthcare system and obtain a health insurance plan. It is a good idea also to research transportation options and familiarize yourself with them.

Support Services For International Students in Canada

Support From Educational Institutions

Many universities and colleges have dedicated international student offices that offer pre-arrival support. These offices can help you find accommodation, arrange airport pick-up, and understand academic programs.

Orientation Programs

Most universities and colleges organize orientation programs for new students, including international students. These programs provide information about academic life, campus resources, and settling into your new city.

Academic Support

Universities and colleges offer academic advisors and support centers to help you with your studies. These services can include:

  • Tutoring
  • Writing workshops
  • Time management strategies

Language Support

Many institutions offer English or French language courses to help you improve your language skills and succeed in your academic program.

Cultural Adjustment

International student centers or multicultural centers can provide support and resources to help you adjust to life in Canada. They may organize social events, workshops on cultural understanding, and connect you with other international students.

Health and Wellness

International student health plans are often available to cover basic medical needs. Universities and colleges may also have health and wellness centers offering counseling, mental health support, and other health services.

Financial Aid and Advice

International students may be eligible for scholarships, bursaries, and other forms of financial aid. Financial advisors can help you understand your options and manage your budget effectively.


Which Documents do I Need to Apply For a Canadian Student Permit?

You must ensure that you have the following documents:

  • Proof of acceptance
  • A provincial attestation letter from the province or territory you plan to study in
  • Your proof of identity
  • Proof of funds
  • A letter of explanation
  • A medical exam
  • A custodian declaration if you are a minor

What is a Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL)?

A Provincial Attestation Letter (PAL) is a document issued by a Canadian province or territory specifically for international students applying for a study permit. It was introduced by IRCC in January 2024, verifying that an international student's application is counted towards a specific province or territory's allocation.