Canada is recognized as an incredible destination for International Students, celebrated for its esteemed educational institutions, inclusive society, and opportunities for Post-Graduation Work or Permanent Residency. Despite their positive impact, international students encounter challenges, notably in finding suitable housing during their Canadian academic pursuits.
To address these issues, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship has announced important changes to enhance support for international students.
Funds for Student Applications will increase
Starting January 1, 2024, adjustments to the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be implemented, reflecting an annual alignment with the low-income cut-off (LICO) by Statistics Canada.
The financial requirement, stagnant since the early 2000s at $10,000 for a single applicant, will be increased to $20,635 in 2024, representing 75% of LICO. This adjustment aims to ensure that students have sufficient funds for living expenses, alongside tuition and travel costs, fostering a more secure financial foundation upon arrival.
Recognizing potential challenges for applicants, targeted pilot initiatives will be launched in 2024 to explore innovative solutions, particularly for underrepresented international student cohorts. These initiatives complement broader reforms introduced on October 27, 2023, emphasizing the recognition of institutions providing top-quality services and support, including housing, to international students.
To enforce adequate student support, including housing, the government is prepared to implement measures, such as visa limitations. Collaborative efforts with provinces, territories, and education stakeholders are crucial to enhancing the academic experience for international students and ensuring their success in Canada.
Additional Updates for International Students
The benefit that allows students to work 40 hours per week for off-campus employment during class sessions is extended until April 30, 2024. This extension applies to international students already in Canada and those who submitted a study permit application by December 7, 2023. Future options, such as expanding off-campus work hours to 30 hours per week during class sessions, are under consideration.
The facilitative measure allowing international students to count online study time towards a future post-graduation work permit (PGWP) will continue for programs starting before September 1, 2024. This measure will not apply to students beginning a study program on or after that date. Initially implemented in 2020 due to pandemic travel restrictions, these measures have evolved to accommodate the majority of international students now studying in person in Canada.
A temporary policy providing an additional 18-month work permit to PGWP holders as their initial permit expires will not be extended further. Foreign nationals with a PGWP expiring up to December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply under this temporary policy.
The government acknowledges the substantial social, cultural, and economic benefits brought by international students to Canada. These policy adjustments aim to address vulnerabilities, fortify the integrity of the International Student Program, and ensure that students arriving in Canada have a more secure financial footing as they embark on their studies.
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