Canada Updates Financial Requirements and Student Work Rights

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A map of Canada overlaid with photos of international students and sector professionals.

On December 7, 2023, Minister Marc Miller of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced several necessary updates affecting international students coming to (or already studying in) Canada. These policies will help protect international students against an increased cost of living and recent housing challenges. 

As of January 1, 2024, the minimum financial requirement that students must show as a part of their study permit application will rise from C$10,000 (where it has sat for nearly twenty years) to C$20,635 to reflect the rising cost of living.

In addition, the present waiver on working hour limits for international students, which was set to run out as of December 31, has now been prolonged to April 30, 2024. This enables students to proceed working off campus for greater than 20 hours per week throughout the winter semester. Minister Miller also provided updates on some temporary measures related to post-graduation work permits, that are detailed below. 

Keep reading for more details and insight into how these updates may affect you as a global student, advisor, or recruitment partner. 

Did you realize: In Canada, immigrants account for 36% of medical doctors, 33% of business owners with staff, and 41% of engineers.

Higher Cost-of-Living Financial Minimum for Students

Perhaps the largest news on this package of announcements involves Canada’s revised expectations for proof of economic support as required on a student’s study permit application. 

When international students apply for his or her Canadian study permit (sometimes called a student visa), they’re required to indicate their access to a set amount of savings, thus proving they’re financially prepared to live and study in Canada. For the past several years, this amount was set at C$10,000 (plus travel costs and the fee of tuition for one yr) for a single applicant. However, rising costs of living have made this an unrealistically low number for college kids to plan around. 

From now on, IRCC will raise this financial requirement on an annual basis, based on the newest low-income cut-off as reported by Statistics Canada. In 2024, a single applicant can be required to indicate they’ve access to C$20,635, in addition to enough funds to cover their travel expenses and the fee of their first full yr of tuition

This latest minimum amount will come into effect for all latest study permit applications as of January 1, 2024. This change also applies to those applying through Canada’s Student Direct Stream, which requires students to indicate their proof of economic support through a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC). GIC amounts will now should be no less than C$20,635 as an alternative of the previous C$10,000 minimum. 

GICs are a superb way for any international student applying for his or her Canadian study permit to prove their financial preparedness. Learn more about GICs on the ApplyBoard blog

An illustration of blue, yellow, and pink gears.

Working Hours Limit Waiver Extended to April

Although Minister Miller’s announcement was primarily focused on the upper financial requirement, he also provided some timely updates on just a few other temporary student-facing measures. 

Back in the autumn of 2022, IRCC announced that as of November 15, 2022, and continuing throughout 2023, international students with off-campus work authorization on their study permit would find a way to work off-campus for greater than the usual 20 hours per week during their studies. 

This temporary waiver was expected to run out on December 31, 2023, but is now being prolonged until April 30, 2024. This extension applies to international students already in Canada, in addition to incoming applicants who’ve submitted their study permit application as of December 7, 2023.

This work-hours waiver has benefitted international students in some ways. They now have greater flexibility to decide on their working hours, can graduate with more work experience, and can earn more income to support their studies. 

Although the extension only lasts until the tip of April, notably, Minister Miller didn’t close the door on permanently raising the working hours limit to 30 hours per week. As the official news release states: 

“We continue to examine options for this policy in the future, such as expanding off-campus work hours for international students to 30 hours per week while class is in session.”

Learn more about working hours for international students in Canada on our blog.

An illustration of an international student wearing a graduate cap.

A Few Post-Graduation Work Permit Updates 

Over the past few years, as a consequence of the numerous changes and restrictions in mobility attributable to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government made temporary changes to its popular Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) Program

One of those measures allowed international students to review remotely online as an alternative of in Canada, while still counting that study time toward a future PGWP (as much as a maximum of fifty% of this system of study). Today, IRCC announced this measure stays in effect for any students who begin a Canadian study program before September 1, 2024—the ultimate cut-off date for college kids to learn from this unique rule.  

Also as a consequence of the pandemic, Canada previously announced extensions for qualifying PGWP holders who were unable to take full advantage of their PGWP after graduating. An additional work permit enabled these PGWP holders to realize work experience in Canada. Today, Minister Miller confirmed that those with PGWPs expiring before the tip of 2023 are still eligible for the extension, but that this policy won’t be prolonged any further

As recently announced, IRCC is ready to evaluate and make further adjustments to the PGWP Program in 2024 to deal with Canada’s labour shortage.

 



These updates from Canada’s IRCC help to be certain that international students are arrange for achievement when studying, working, and living in Canada. ApplyBoard is glad to see the Canadian government taking steps to deal with most of the recently highlighted issues faced by international students. 

In 2024, we hope to see much more measures taken to properly support and facilitate the well-being of international students in Canada.

As at all times, for the latest information, please visit the news page on the IRCC website.

Stay tuned to the ApplyBoard blog for more necessary news and insights from the world of international education.

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