Canada has become a global hub for international students from every corner of the world. In recent years, the influx of international students has not only enriched the Canadian education landscape but has also significantly contributed to the cultural fabric of the nation. Studying in Canada is a dream for many international students, but it’s crucial to have a realistic understanding of the cost of living.
With the new announcement by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship on the 7th of December, Canada has introduced revised requirements aimed at enhancing the protection and well-being of those pursuing education in the Great White North. Following the changes to the International Student Program on October 27, 2023, new criteria are part of creating the new system for identifying educational institutions that offer international students housing and other high-quality services and assistance.
New Financial Requirements for Canadian Study Permit
To ensure that overseas students are financially prepared for life in Canada, the cost-of-living financial criterion for Canadian study permit applicants will be increased as of January 1, 2024. From now on, this cut-off will be modified annually by Statistics Canada’s revisions to the low-income cutoff (LICO). LICO is the lowest income required in Canada to guarantee that a person does not have to spend too large of a percentage of their income on immediate needs like shelter and food.
Since it was first established at $10,000 for a single study permit applicant in the early 2000s, the cost-of-living threshold has remained unchanged. Because of this, the financial requirements for a study visa in Canada haven’t kept up with the rising cost of living over time, which means that when students arrive in Canada, they find their money insufficient to really afford to live.
In 2024, a single applicant will have to demonstrate that they have liquid cash of $20,635 Canadian dollars, which is equivalent to 75% of LICO, in addition to the cost of their first year’s tuition and transportation. To make sure that accredited educational institutions offer appropriate and sufficient student support as a part of the academic experience, IRCC will be restricting visas for the semester of September 2024.
When do the new Canadian study permit requirements kick in?
New applications for study permits submitted on or after January 1, 2024, will be subject to this modification.
Will the new requirements apply to Canadian study permit renewals and extensions?
What is really important is that the news release is ambiguous as to whether the change will apply to applicants who already hold a study permit and will need to extend/renew their student status in Canada. This question has not yet been clarified by IRCC.
All international students in Canada have already been granted study permits using the $10,000 threshold. It would be unfair to suddenly require them to demonstrate double that amount in order to renew their study permit to finish the diploma or degree they are currently in the middle of.
We will update you regarding how the new rules will apply to study permit extensions and renewals as more information is made available.
Canadian Study Permit Public Policy Updates
Updates were also made on three temporary public policies pertaining to foreign students, which include:
- Full-time work by international students – The waiver of the 20-hour-per-week limit on the number of hours international students are allowed to work off campus while class is in session will be extended to April 30, 2024. International students already in Canada, as well as applicants who have already submitted an application for a study permit as of December 7, 2023, will be able to work off campus for more than 20 hours per week until that time. IRCC has stated that it will continue to examine options for this policy in the future, such as expanding off-campus work hours for international students to 30 hours per week while class is in session.
- Online Study and PGWP – The facilitative measure that has allowed international students to count time spent studying online towards the length of a future post-graduation work permit, as long as it constitutes less than 50% of the program of study, will continue to be in place for students who begin a study program before September 1, 2024. This measure will no longer apply to students who begin a study program on or after that date. Distance learning facilitation measures were first implemented in 2020 in response to travel restrictions during the pandemic and were reduced in scope in September 2022. At this point, the vast majority of international students are studying in person in Canada.
- PGWP Extension – In response to labour market disruptions during the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, a temporary policy was introduced on three occasions to provide an additional 18-month work permit to post-graduation work permit holders as their initial work permit was expiring. Foreign nationals with a post-graduation work permit expiring up to December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply. However, this temporary policy will not be extended further.
Has your Canadian study permit application or PGWP application been refused? Contact us for assistance