The number of new international student permits issued in Canada will be limited over the next two years in a move to 'stabilize growth.'

According to the federal government's release on Monday, the cap is set at approximately 360,000 approved study permits in 2024, reflecting a significant decrease of 35 per cent from the previous year. 

Keleah Ostrander, Vice President of Programs and Students at Great Plains College in Swift Current, explained that while these changes are national in scope, their impact is not uniform across the country.

Saskatchewan, for example, is positioned to experience growth in international student allocations.

"We're optimistic that working with the provincial government, as well as our post-secondary partners, will have a really good outcome for everybody," Ostrander said. "There's a lot unknown at this point, but we're working hard and collaboratively to have good outcomes for the province of Saskatchewan and our communities."

Ostrander addressed concerns from current international students and prospective applicants, acknowledging the anxiety surrounding the new measures.

She highlighted efforts to dispel myths and assure students that Saskatchewan offers an excellent opportunity for studying, transitioning to work, and becoming residents of Canada.

Additionally, collaboration with post-secondary partners and the government is ongoing to determine Swift Current's allocation for permits and ensure that processing resumes in a timely fashion for students planning to enroll in fall programs.

"Right now in rural Saskatchewan, we're in a time where overall there are fewer residents of working age than there are jobs," added Ostrander. "We really need to have all pools of skilled workers be available to fill that gap, specifically in areas like healthcare or early childhood education, so that we can have a strong economy.

"That is the emphasis of our international education program. We aim to continue that and be a voice for rural Saskatchewan in the conversation."