The number of study permits Canada issued to Indian students fell sharply late last year after India ejected Canadian diplomats who would process the permits and fewer Indian students applied due to a diplomatic dispute over the murder of a Sikh separatist leader in Canada, a top Canadian official said.

Immigration Minister Marc Miller added in an interview that he believes the number of study permits to Indians is unlikely to rebound soon. Diplomatic tensions erupted after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in September said there was evidence connecting Indian government agents to the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.

The tensions are likely to weigh on the numbers going forward, Miller said.