New Financial Requirements for International Students

Updated cost of living requirements for International Students

On December 7, 2023, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced that the cost-of-living financial requirement will be raised for those who wish to enter Canada on a study permit.

The updated requirement – which aims to better prepare international students for the financial challenges some experience once they have arrived in Canada – will take effect starting January 1, 2024. Moving forward, a single study permit applicant must show that they have $20,635 in funds in addition to their first year of tuition and travel expenses for study permit applicants made on or after January 1, 2024. The threshold for the cost-of-living will be adjusted each year to reflect low-income cut-off (LICO), which is the minimum income individuals need so that they do not allocate a higher-than-average portion of their earnings to essential living expenses.

Why Increase the Cost-of-Living Requirements for International Students?

The decision to increase the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants came as a result of the inability of international students to keep up with the rising cost of living once they arrive in Canada, including finding adequate housing, resulting in exposure of many to vulnerability and exploitation.

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) further announced its intention to implement targeted policies and measures in 2024 to test innovative ideas targeted at supporting international students. Such measures include limiting visas in order to ensure that colleges, universities, and other designated learning institutions are providing adequate support to international students. IRCC further emphasized the need for provincial and territorial governments to work together with the federal government and learning institutions to ensure that international students have successful experiences in their studies in Canada.

In the same press release, Minister Miller provided further updates on three temporary policies that also affect international students, which were originally set to expire at the end of this year:

  • International students who are currently in Canada or who have submitted a study permit application by December 7, 2023, will be able to work for more than 20 hours per week until April 30, 2024;

  • International students who commence a study program before September 1, 2024, may continue to count time spent studying online towards the length of future post-graduation work permit provided that it still constitutes less than 50% of the study program. Following September 1, 2024, this facilitative measure will no longer apply since the 2020 pandemic-related travel restrictions no longer apply;

  • Following December 31, 2023, foreign nationals with a post-graduation work permit will no longer be able to apply for an additional 18-month work permit extension as labour disruptions due to pandemic and post-pandemic recovery no longer applies.

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