Ottawa [Canada], December 8 (ANI): In a move aimed at enhancing the financial preparedness of international students, Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, announced significant reforms to Canada’s study permit requirements, according to an official release.
The changes, set to take effect from January 1, 2024, include a substantial increase in the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants.
“International students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada. We are revising the cost-of-living threshold so that international students understand the true cost of living here. This measure is key to their success in Canada. We are also exploring options to ensure that students find adequate housing. These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation,” said Miller.
Since the early 2000s, the cost-of-living requirement has remained stagnant at USD 10,000 for a single applicant. However, in response to the evolving cost of living, the threshold will now be raised to USD 20,635, representing 75 per cent of the low-income cut-off (LICO). This adjustment, to be updated annually with Statistics Canada’s LICO, aims to ensure that international students are adequately prepared for the financial demands of life in Canada, the release also said.
The move is not only a response to the rising cost of living but also addresses the challenges faced by international students, such as finding suitable housing. The reforms align with the government’s commitment to protecting students from financial vulnerability and exploitation.
To further support underrepresented cohorts of international students, the government plans to implement targeted pilots in collaboration with partners in 2024. These pilots will test new ideas to facilitate the pursuit of studies in Canada for students facing unique challenges.
The announcement follows the October 27, 2023, reforms to the International Student Programme, introducing a new framework to recognise learning institutions providing top-quality services and support, including housing. Learning institutions are expected to accept only the number of students they can adequately support, it added.
Additionally, Minister Miller provided updates on three temporary policies affecting international students, including an extension of the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week limit for off-campus work until April 30, 2024, and the continuation of a facilitative measure allowing the counting of online study time towards post-graduation work permits.
While recognising the significant benefits international students bring to Canada socially, culturally, and economically, the government emphasizes the need to address challenges that have made some students vulnerable. The revised cost-of-living threshold is seen as a crucial step to ensure the success and well-being of international students in Canada, the official release said. (ANI)