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Friday, 08 December 2023 04:04

Canada Jerks Up Cost-of-Living Threshold For International Students

From January 1, 2024, the cost-of-living financial requirement for study permit applicants will be raised to $20,635 from the initial $10,000 so that international students are financially prepared for life in Canada.


Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Honourable Marc Miller, announced the review on Thursday. He said that moving forward, the new threshold will be adjusted each year when Statistics Canada updates the low-income cut-off (LICO).

LICO represents the minimum income necessary to ensure that an individual does not have to spend a greater than average portion of income on necessities.

According to the information posted on the website of the Canadian Government, the cost-of-living requirement for study permit applicants has not changed since the early 2000s, when it was set at $10,000 for a single applicant. As such, the financial requirement hasn’t kept up with the cost of living over time, resulting in students arriving in Canada only to learn that their funds aren’t adequate, a development that can put them in a financial crisis.

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

While this will help prevent student vulnerability and exploitation, Minister Miller said: “We recognize that the impact of the change could vary depending on the applicant. Next year, in collaboration with partners, we intend to implement targeted pilots that will test new ideas aimed at helping underrepresented cohorts of international students pursue their studies in Canada.

“Today’s announcement follows important reforms to the International Student Program announced on October 27, 2023, regarding the development of a new framework to recognise learning institutions that provide top-quality services and support, including housing, to international students. We expect learning institutions to only accept the number of students that they can provide adequate support for, including housing options.

“In welcoming international students, we have a responsibility to make sure that students are supported when they come to our country. Ahead of the September 2024 semester, we are prepared to take necessary measures, including limiting visas, to ensure that designated learning institutions provide adequate and sufficient student support as part of the academic experience. In order to achieve this result, it is imperative to work together with provincial and territorial governments, learning institutions and other education stakeholders, so we can ensure international students are set up for success in Canada.”


LEADERSHIP reports that Canada is a top destination for international students, owing to her high-quality educational institutions; her welcoming, diverse society; and the opportunities for some to work or immigrate permanently after graduation. While international students have contributed to life on campuses and innovation across the country, they have also experienced some serious challenges, such as finding adequate housing, as they pursue their studies in the North American country.

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