Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced Revised Visa Requirements for International Students on 7 December, 2023. The financial requirement for international students applying for a student permit has now doubled due to the increasing cost of living. The cost of living requirement will be increased to $20,635CAD starting from January 1, 2024.
Immigration Minister Marc Miller also announced updates on three temporary policies affecting international students, including the extension of the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work, revised requirements for the post-graduation work permit, and the decision not to extend the additional 18-month work permit.
Increasing Cost of Living Requirement for International Students in Canada
The most prominent issue highlighted in this news release is IRCC’s announcement of doubling the cost of living requirement for student permits.
Why Does IRCC Increase the Financial Requirement?
The cost of living requirement for study permit applicants, established at $10,000CAD for a single applicant in the early 2000s, has remained unchanged since then. Consequently, the financial threshold has failed to align with the evolving cost of living, leading to situations where students discover upon arrival in Canada that their funds are insufficient.
The goal of this adjustment is to ensure that students are financially prepared for life in Canada.
2024 Revised Cost of Living Requirements for Canada International Students
For 2024, a single applicant needs to show they have $20,635CAD, in addition to covering their first-year tuition and travel costs. The adjustment will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.
In the future, the requirement will be annually recalibrated in accordance with the updates provided by Statistics Canada to the low-income cut-off (LICO).
“LICO represents the minimum income necessary to ensure that an individual does not have to spend a greater than average portion of income on necessities.”
IRCC Updates on Temporary Policies regarding International Students in Canada
An update is also provided on three temporary policies affecting international students that were all set to expire at the end of 2023.
Extension of Waiver on Off-campus 20-hour-per-week Work Limit
The waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work for international students has been prolonged until April 30, 2024. This applies to international students already in Canada and those who submitted study permit applications by December 7, 2023.
Future options, like increasing the off-campus work limit to 30 hours per week during classes, are being explored regarding this policy.
Updates on Post-graduation Work Permit Policy
During the pandemic, the Canadian government allowed international students to include online distance learning toward the length of a future post-graduation work permit.
International students can still count their time spent studying online, if it is less than 50% of their study program. This applies to students who begin a study program before September 1, 2024, but not to those who begin a study program on or after that date.
Updates on Additional 18-month Work Permit Policy
A temporary policy was introduced to provide an extra 18 months work permit to post-graduation work permit holders, as their initial permit was expiring. Foreign nationals with post-graduation work permits expiring up to December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply. However, this temporary policy will not be extended further.
Targeted Pilot Program To Assist Underrepresented International Students
Collaborating with partners next year, IRCC plans to initiate targeted pilot programs to test new ideas designed to assist underrepresented groups of international students in pursuing their studies in Canada.
Measures include expecting institutions to admit only a manageable number of students for whom they can provide sufficient support, including housing options.
In anticipation of the September 2024 semester, various measures, including potential visa limitations, are being considered to ensure that designated learning institutions provide thorough and satisfactory student support.
For more details, please visit IRCC’s website:
(IRCC News Release on 7 December, 2023)
Visit TWA Canada Immigration News for more related updates.