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Canada increases cost of living requirement by 100% for potential students, other changes

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Canadas IRCC

The cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants to Canada will be increased; also there will be an extension of student work hours.

This was announced by IRCC and will become effective from January 1, 2024, as the cost-of-living requirement for a single study permit applicant will be $20,635.

Nairametrics learns that this amount, applicable to study permit applications received on or after January 1st, has more than doubled the existing requirement of $10,000 set in the early 2000s, which has remained unchanged since then.

This new requirement is in addition to the first year of tuition and travel costs.

IRCC states that the financial requirement has not kept pace with the rising cost of living in Canada, leading to instances where students arrive only to find that their funds do not cover their expenses as expected.

In addition to the January 1st increase, the department announces that the cost-of-living requirement will now be adjusted annually based on Statistics Canada’s updates to the low-income cut-off (LICO).

LICO is the minimum income necessary in Canada to ensure individuals do not need to allocate a higher-than-average portion of their income to necessities.

The new financial guidelines will also apply to the Student Direct Stream (SDS), a study permit stream offering faster processing for applicants from 14 specific countries.

IRCC emphasizes that adjusting the cost-of-living requirement aims to prevent student vulnerability and exploitation, recognizing that the impact may vary for each potential applicant.

The department further reveals plans to implement targeted pilots in the following year to assist underrepresented cohorts of international students in pursuing their studies in Canada.

Extension of working hours for students

In addition to the adjustment in the cost-of-living requirement, IRCC has declared an extension of the waiver on the 20-hour-per-week work cap for international students until April 30, 2024.

This extension applies only to students currently in Canada and those who have submitted a study permit application by December 7th, 2023.

Initially introduced on November 15, 2022, with an initial expiration date of December 31, 2023, this measure allows students to work more than the standard 20 hours per week during the academic term.

Students can qualify to work while studying in Canada if they meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a valid study permit
  • Attend full-time classes at a designated learning institution
  • Commenced their studies and maintain satisfactory academic standing
  • Enrolled in an academic, vocational, or professional training program lasting at least six months and leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate
  • Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN)

Additionally, during the press conference, Minister Miller announced two updates related to the Post Graduation Work Permit (PGWP).

Firstly, the provision allowing international students to include online study terms toward their future PGWP, as long as it doesn’t exceed half of the total program duration, will be extended until September 1st, 2024.

Secondly, there will be no further special extensions for PGWPs. Although individuals eligible under the most recent extension policy may apply (with work permits expiring as late as December 31st, 2023), IRCC will not pursue additional extensions for PGWPs after this period concludes.


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