In a significant policy shift, the Canadian government has declared an upward revision of the financial requirement for international students applying for study permits, effective January 1, 2024.
The individual financial demonstration has surged to CAN$20,635, more than double the prior CDN$10,000 mandate, aiming to alleviate the struggles faced by students arriving with insufficient funds.
This first adjustment in a decade reflects a comprehensive review of Canada’s international student program by the federal government, driven by concerns about students’ financial vulnerability. Economically, the new requirement represents 75% of the low-income cut-off in Canada (LICO), ensuring a baseline income for essential needs.
Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, highlighted the adjustment’s necessity for the success of international students in Canada. Despite this, recognizing the challenges faced by some students, the government plans to introduce initiatives targeting “underrepresented cohorts.”
Critics, including Sarom Rho of Migrant Students United, argue that the sudden change creates barriers for working-class students, calling for stability, fairness, and permanent residency for all. The move coincides with rising concerns about the underestimation of living expenses for international students, as revealed by a September 2023 survey.
The government is prepared to take measures, including visa limitations, to ensure institutions offer adequate assistance ahead of September 2024. These developments underscore Canada’s evolving approach, balancing global talent attraction with the well-being of international students.