Nova Scotia to issue 12,900 study permits to international students in 2024

Edana Robitaille
Published: March 29, 2024

Nova Scotia has released details of its international student allocation for post-secondary institutions.

For 2024, the federal government has given Nova Scotia 12,900 study permits. This is approximately 7,000 fewer than the number of permits the province issued to international students in 2023.

As of October 2023, Nova Scotia had approximately 16,000 international students enrolled full-time.

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The province is distributing the study permits among 32 designated learning institutions (DLIs), which are the only post-secondary institutions in Canada that are permitted to accept international students. According to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Nova Scotia officially has 41 DLIs.

The permits are allocated as follows:

  • 11,565 to the province’s 10 universities and Nova Scotia Community College
  • 710 to a dozen private career colleges
  • 526 to nine language schools.

The province says it will also hold back 99 application spaces for the flexibility to accommodate unexpected circumstances.

Brian Wong, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Advanced Education, said “We’ve taken a thoughtful approach to allocating the federal cap across the province, considering many factors like enrolment in our high-needs programs and managing growth in communities. That said, we will continue to advocate for a greater allocation from the federal government.”

The federal cap on study permits was introduced on January 22 as one of many measures IRCC has taken to stabilize the number of international students in the country and improve the system’s sustainability. Overall, Canada expected to issue 360,000 study permits to international students in 2024, a reduction of 35% from the previous year.

The number of study permits aligns with the number of Provincial Attestation Letters (PALs) a province can issue and it is up to the provinces to decide how to issue them to study permit applicants who have obtained a letter of acceptance from a DLI.

Note that the cap does not apply to international students enrolled in master's or graduate level degree programs, for students who are current study permit holders, or for study permit renewals.

International student applicants must now include a PAL in their final study permit applications.

Prince Edward Island

On March 7, Prince Edward Island announced that it has 2,000 study permits to issue to international students.

These will be distributed among three DLIs:

  • College de l’Ile (105 study permits)
  • Holland College (710 study permits)
  • University of Prince Edward Island (1185 study permits)

In PEI, the Department of Workforce, Advanced Learning and Population will provide DLIs with PALs. The DLIs will then issue them to international student applicants as part of their federal student permit application.

Allocations in other provinces

Ontario and British Columbia revealed how they intend to distribute their allocation of PALs earlier this month.

Ontario will issue 96% of allocated study permits toto public universities and colleges. The remaining 4% will be distributed between "language schools, private universities and other institutions” across the province. The province has not announced how many PALs the federal government has allocated.

In contrast, British Columbia is distributing its 83,000 study permits almost evenly between public and private DLIs (53% vs 47%).

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