Canada, renowned as a top destination for international students, is set to improve the financial preparedness of those seeking to study in the country.
In a move announced by the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will undergo a substantial increase starting January 1, 2024.
International students have long been attracted to Canada for its high-quality educational institutions, diverse society, and the potential for work or permanent immigration post-graduation. However, alongside these advantages, students have faced challenges, particularly in securing adequate housing during their studies.
The current financial requirement for study permit applicants has remained unchanged since the early 2000s, creating a disparity with the rising cost of living in the country. In response to this, the new threshold for 2024 will be set at $20,635 for a single applicant.
“The cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000 for a single applicant. As such, the financial requirement hasn’t kept up with the cost of living over time, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that their funds aren’t adequate. For 2024, a single applicant will need to show they have $20,635, representing 75% of LICO, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs. This change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.”
Minister Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, emphasized the importance of these changes in preventing student vulnerability and exploitation, acknowledging that the impact may vary among applicants. To address potential disparities, the government plans to collaborate with partners on targeted pilot programs in 2024, focusing on helping underrepresented cohorts of international students pursue their studies in Canada.
“While this will help prevent student vulnerability and exploitation, we recognize that the impact of the change could vary depending on the applicant. Next year, in collaboration with partners, we intend to implement targeted pilots that will test new ideas aimed at helping underrepresented cohorts of international students pursue their studies in Canada,” portions of the statement read.
The announcement builds upon recent reforms to the International Student Program, unveiled on October 27, 2023, which introduced a framework recognizing institutions providing top-quality services and support, including housing, to international students. Learning institutions are now expected to accept only the number of students they can adequately support, emphasizing the government’s commitment to ensuring a positive and supportive experience for international students.
The government is ready to take the required actions, such as restricting visas, in advance of the September 2024 semester to make sure that approved educational institutions offer adequate student supports. In order to prepare international students for success in Canada, this cooperative effort entails close collaboration with learning institutions, provincial and territorial governments, and other education stakeholders.
In addition to the financial adjustments, Minister Miller provided updates on three temporary policies affecting international students:
“The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work during class sessions will be extended to April 30, 2024, offering students increased opportunities to work, the facilitative measure allowing students to count time spent studying online towards a future post-graduation work permit will continue for those starting a study program before September 1, 2024 and the temporary policy providing an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders will not be extended beyond December 31, 2023.”
Canada’s economy heavily depends on international education, which generates over $22 billion in revenue annually and supports over 200,000 jobs. The Ministry states that these adjustments are intended to protect international students’ welfare and uphold the integrity of the International Student Program, acknowledging the social, cultural, and economic advantages they provide.
Minister Miller concluded, “These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation.”