The cost-of-living financial requirement for international students filing study permit applications will be increased to $20,635 in 2024, the Canadian government announced on Thursday, December 7.

Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said the changes are being made so that international students are financially prepared for life in Canada.

“International students provide significant cultural, social and economic benefits to their communities, but they have also faced challenges navigating life in Canada,” Miller said. “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.”

While international students have contributed to life on campuses and innovation across the country, the government notes that they have also experienced some serious challenges, such as finding adequate housing, as they pursue their studies in Canada.

For 2024, a single applicant will need to show they have $20,635, representing 75% of LICO, in addition to their first year of tuition and travel costs.

This change will apply to new study permit applications received on or after January 1, 2024.

The Canadian government also provided updates on three temporary policies affecting international students that were all set to expire at the end of 2023:

  • The Government of Canada’s temporary reprieve on off-campus work hour limits for eligible international post-secondary students has been extended to April 30, 2024. This applies to current international students in Canada and to those who applied for a study permit by December 7, 2023. They can continue working off campus while class is in session until April 30, 2024. Previously, there was a 20-hour-per-week limit on off-campus work. The government is continuing to review the policy and is considering resetting the off-campus work hours limit for international students to 30 hours per week while class is in session.
  • The measure permitting international students to include online study time in their post-graduation work permit eligibility, as long as it’s under 50% of their program, will remain valid for students starting their studies before September 1, 2024. This measure will no longer apply to students who begin a study program on or after that date. Distance learning facilitation measures were first implemented in 2020 in response to travel restrictions during the pandemic, and were reduced in scope last year. At this point, the vast majority of international students are studying in person in Canada.
  • The government won’t be extending the temporary policy to provide an additional 18-month work permit to Post-Graduation Work Permit holders as their initial work permit was expiring. In response to labor market disruptions during the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, the policy was introduced on three occasions. Foreign nationals with a Post-Graduation Work Permit expiring up to December 31, 2023, remain eligible to apply. However, this temporary policy will not be extended further.

“These long-overdue changes will protect international students from financially vulnerable situations and exploitation,” Miller said.

International education accounts for more than $22 billion in economic activity annually and supports more than 200,000 jobs in Canada.

Published on December 11, 2023.

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