Effective January 1, 2024, IRCC will increase the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants. The new requirement for a single study permit applicant will be $20,635. It’s More than double the previous $10,000 set in the early 2000s, which has remained unchanged.
IRCC acknowledges that the previous financial requirement needed to adequately reflect Canada’s rising cost of living. It leaves students with insufficient funds upon arrival. To address this, the department will adjust the cost-of-living requirement annually based on Statistics Canada’s updates to the low-income cut-off (LICO). LICO is a benchmark for the minimum income needed in Canada to cover necessities without disproportionately impacting individuals’ budgets.
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Starting from January 1st, the revised financial guidelines will also apply to the Student Direct Stream (SDS). A study permit stream that facilitates faster processing for applicants from 14 specific countries.
IRCC emphasizes that this adjustment protects students from vulnerability and exploitation. Although it acknowledges that the impact may vary among potential applicants. Additionally, IRCC plans to implement targeted pilot programs in the coming year to assist underrepresented cohorts of international students in pursuing their studies in Canada.
Extending Student Work Hours and Post-Graduation Work Permit Updates
In addition to the adjustment in the cost-of-living requirement, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has announced an extension of the waiver on the 20-hour per week work limit for international students. This extension is applicable until April 30, 2024. And is open to students already in Canada and those who submitted a study permit application by December 7th, 2023.
Initially introduced on November 15, 2022, this measure, set to conclude on December 31, 2023, allows students to work beyond 20 hours per week during their academic sessions.
To be eligible for work while studying in Canada, students must:
- Be enrolled full-time at a designated learning institution.
- Maintain satisfactory academic standing as determined by the institution.
- Hold a valid study permit.
- Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Be enrolled in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least six months, leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate.
In addition to the work hours extension, Minister Miller announced two updates related to the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) during the press conference.
Firstly, the allowance for international students to include online study terms in their future PGWP calculations. As long as it does not exceed half of the total program duration, will be extended until September 1, 2024.
Secondly, there will be no further particular extensions of PGWPs. Although the government of Canada had previously implemented three temporary policies extending PGWPs by 18 months, individuals eligible under the latest extension policy (with work permits expiring as of December 31, 2023) can apply. Still, IRCC will only pursue additional PGWP extensions within this timeframe.