On December 7, 2023, Minister of Immigration Marc Miller unveiled a series of crucial changes to the Study Permit requirements aimed at safeguarding international students. Starting January 1, 2024, there will be an increase in the financial proof requirement for the study visa to ensure that students are financially prepared for their stay in Canada.
From 2024 onwards, this financial requirement will be adjusted annually based on updates to the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) by Statistics Canada. The LICO represents the minimum income necessary to ensure that an individual does not spend an above-average proportion of their income on basic needs.
The unchanged financial requirement since the early 2000s, initially set at a thousand dollars per applicant, will be raised to CAD$20,635 in 2024, representing 75% of the LICO, in addition to first-year expenses, including tuition and travel costs. This change will apply to new study permit applications from January 1, 2024.
Reform in the International Student Program: Focus on Quality and Support
On October 27, 2023, a reform in the International Student Program was announced, aiming to establish a new framework to recognize educational institutions that provide high-quality services and support, including housing, to international students. The IRCC expects educational institutions to admit only the number of students they can adequately support, including accommodation options.
In September 2024, immigration will consider, if necessary, limiting the issuance of study permits to ensure that designated institutions provide sufficient support to students as an integral part of the academic experience.
Updates to Temporary Policies Affecting International Students
Minister Marc Miller also announced adjustments to three temporary policies expiring at the end of December 2023:
Expansion of Off-Campus Work Hours: The exemption from the 20-hour per week limit for off-campus work will be extended until April 30, 2024. International students in Canada and applicants who applied for study permits from December 7, 2023, onwards will be able to work off-campus for more than 20 hours per week until that date.
PGWP with Online Study: For those who commenced studies before September 2024 and had some of them online, it will be possible to count that period towards the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).
No Extension for 18-Month PGWP: The temporary policy extending the PGWP by 18 months will end on December 31, 2023, with no forecast for an extension.