News release

Nova Scotia Implements Federal Cap on New International Student Applications

Advanced Education
Photo of four students engaged in conversation around a table containing papers and folders

A group of post-secondary students discuss assignments; the Province has released its international student allocations based on the federal government's changes to its international study permit program. (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

NOTE: More information about Nova Scotia’s allocation is available in Resources, above and to the right on desktop and at the bottom of the release on mobile.

The Province released international student allocations for post-secondary institutions today, March 28, following the federal government’s changes to its international study permit program to decrease the number of international students coming to Canada.

The federal government provided Nova Scotia with the total number of students allowed under the new program cap and required the Province to distribute them among its institutions.

The number of study permit applications for Nova Scotia is 12,900 this year, down about 7,000 from last year. They will be distributed among 32 designated learning institutions (those approved to accept international students):

  • 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 will hold back 99 application spaces to allow for some flexibility to respond to unexpected circumstances and new programs.

“International students are important to our province’s growth and economy, and we want them to have a good experience when they come to study, live and work here,” said Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education. “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.”

With today’s announcement, institutions can now request attestation letters from the Province for first-year international students they’ve accepted. The letter confirms the student falls within the cap and must be included with the student’s application for a study permit from the federal government.

As part of the Province’s one-year agreements with universities announced last month, they must develop international student sustainability plans outlining how these students will be recruited, housed and connected to the labour market.

Quick Facts:

  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced changes to its international study permit program on January 22; the Province was informed about its allocation on February 9
  • international post-secondary students who are currently studying in Nova Scotia and those planning to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree do not require a provincial attestation letter
  • as of October 1, 2023, Nova Scotia universities had about 14,500 full-time international students enrolled (about 32 per cent of total full-time enrolment)
  • as of October 1, 2023, Nova Scotia Community College reported 1,183 international students (about 11 per cent of total enrolment)
  • for the period of September 2022 to August 2023, private career colleges voluntarily reported an enrollment of about 250 international students

Additional Resources:

IRCC news release – Canada to stabilize growth and decrease number of new international student permits issued to approximately 360,000 for 2024:

News release – Agreements with Universities Prioritize Student Needs, Government Priorities