Canada announces new visa requirements; increases proof of funds from $10,000 to $20,000

Canada stands out as a preferred destination for global students due to its esteemed educational institutions, inclusive and diverse society, and the potential for post-graduation work or permanent immigration. While international students have positively impacted campuses and innovation in the country, they have faced challenges like securing adequate housing during their studies in Canada.

The Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, the Honourable Marc Miller, has announced a revision to the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants, effective January 1, 2024. This adjustment, to be annually aligned with Statistics Canada’s low-income cut-off (LICO), aims to ensure that international students are financially equipped for life in Canada.

The cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has remained unchanged since the early 2000s, leading to a disparity with the evolving living costs. In 2024, a single applicant must demonstrate financial readiness by showing $20,635, equivalent to 75% of LICO, along with the first-year tuition and travel expenses. This modification applies to study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024, helping mitigate student vulnerability and exploitation.

Recognising potential disparities, plans include implementing targeted pilots in collaboration with partners to support underrepresented cohorts of international students in pursuing their studies in Canada. The announcement builds on the reforms to the International Student Program, emphasising institutions providing quality services and support, including housing.

Acknowledging the responsibility to support international students, preparations for the September 2024 semester involve potential measures, such as visa limitations, to ensure designated learning institutions offer sufficient student support. Collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, learning institutions, and education stakeholders is essential to ensure international students thrive in Canada.

Minister Miller also provided updates on temporary policies affecting international students. The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week work limit off-campus is extended to April 30, 2024. The facilitative measure allowing online study time toward post-graduation work permits continues until September 1, 2024, and a temporary policy granting an additional 18-month work permit for post-graduation work permit holders expires at the end of 2023.

Recognising the valuable contributions of international students to Canada, addressing vulnerabilities and program integrity issues is crucial. The increased cost-of-living threshold aims to place incoming students on a more secure financial footing as they embark on their studies in Canada.

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