Enhancing Financial Preparedness for International Students
The announcement made by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Minister Marc Miller on December 7, 2023 regarding the changes in financial requirements for study permit applicants and updates on temporary policies affecting international students in Canada is aimed at enhancing the support provided to these students while addressing some of the challenges they face. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the key points and their implications:
Financial Requirement Adjustment
Financial Threshold Increase: Starting January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be raised. The threshold will now be adjusted annually in line with Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off (LICO) updates.
Rationale: The current financial requirement of $10,000, which has remained unchanged since the early 2000s, has not kept pace with the rising cost of living in Canada. This change aims to ensure that incoming students have sufficient funds for living expenses.
Impact: Single applicants will need to demonstrate they possess $20,635, representing 75% of LICO, in addition to covering their first year of tuition and travel costs. This change applies to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.
Ensuring Support and Adequate Services
Learning Institutions will be accountable and is expected to provide adequate support services, including housing, to international students. This means that they should only accommodate the number of students they can support effectively. The government also emphasizes its responsibility to ensure that students arriving in Canada are adequately supported.
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Temporary Policies Update
Off-Campus Work Hours: The waiver allowing international students to work more than 20 hours per week off campus will be extended until April 30, 2024, benefiting those already in Canada or who have applied for a study permit by December 7, 2023.
Online Study Counted for Post-Graduation Work Permit: Students beginning their study program before September 1, 2024, can continue to count online study time toward their post-graduation work permit, provided it constitutes less than 50% of the program.
Additional Work Permit for Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders: This policy will remain applicable to post-graduation work permit holders expiring until December 31, 2023. However, it will NOT be extended further.
Future Actions and Collaboration
The government plans to work with provincial governments, learning institutions, and education stakeholders to ensure adequate support for international students will be provided in the coming year.
This announcement aims to bolster the financial preparedness of incoming international students, improve support mechanisms, and ensure the integrity of the program while considering the broader benefits these students bring to Canada.